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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 May;65(5):565-73. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2010.292. Epub 2011 Mar 16.

Nutritional access routes following oesophagectomy--a systematic review.

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Department of Oesophago-Gastric Surgery, Salford Royal Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK.

Erratum in

  • Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Aug;65(8):984. Al-Khaffaf, B [corrected to Alkhaffaf, B].


Nutritional support in patients undergoing oesophagectomy is of paramount importance in this usually malnourished patient group, but encountering significant clinical practice variation between units. Our aim was therefore to assess the strength of evidence behind nutritional support routes post-oesophagectomy. The Cochrane Library and Controlled Trials Registry, MEDLINE (Ovid) (1966-April 2009), PubMed, EMBASE (1966-April 2009), CINAHL, Web of knowledge and SCOPUS databases, were electronically searched for the highest level of evidence, with English language as a limit. Reference follow-up was also used. Studies were critically reviewed based on The NHS Public Health Resource Unit Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Tools. Five randomised control trials (RCTs) and one case-control trial, with 344 patients, were included in the review. There was a significant variation in the routes assessed (including intravenous fluid therapy, peripheral and central line nutrition, feeding jejunostomy, nasojejunal and nasoduodenal tubes) and the methodological quality of each study, with small patient numbers. No route was found to be superior over another in the RCTs. In the case-control trial, the combination of enteral parenteral nutrition led to shorter hospital stay compared with parenteral feeding alone. Nasojejunal and nasoduodenal tubes are associated with a significant rate of dislodgement. There is absence of strong direct evidence supporting a single feeding access route in oesophagectomy patients. Clinical decisions should be made based on available evidence from other types of gastrointestinal surgery, currently favouring enteral nutrition. If enteral feeding is chosen, feeding jejunostomy may be superior to nasojejunal or duodenal tubes.

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