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J Surg Tech Case Rep. 2015 Jul-Dec;7(2):37-41. doi: 10.4103/2006-8808.185654.

Elective Bowel Surgery with or without Prophylactic Nasogastric Decompression: A Prospective, Randomized Trial.

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Department of General Surgery, JSS Medical College Hospital, JSS University, Mysore, Karnataka, India.



Routinely postoperative nasogastric decompression was done until the nasogastric drainage is minimal, reoccurrence of bowel sounds and passing flatus. But prolonged nasogastric intubation is associated with complications like basal atelectasis due to poor cough reflux, loss of electrolytes and increased patient morbidity.


To study the need for routine use of nasogastric tube post operatively in bowel surgeries with reference to (1) Return of bowel movements (2) Compare the incidence of complications (3) Duration of hospital stay.


100 patients who underwent elective bowel surgery were randomized into two groups: Study group (50): Nasogastric tube was removed immediately after operation or in the recovery room. Control group (50): Underwent nasogastric tube removal postoperatively after the patient passed flatus and audible bowel sounds on auscultation.


Incidence of complications were less in the study group i.e., only three patients had vomiting, and two patients had abdominal distension which lead to postponement of oral feeds. Most of our control group patients complained of discomfort and difficulty in coughing and in bringing out sputum, which was the probable cause for high incidence of pulmonary complications.


Routine use of the nasogastric tube adjunct to patient care following bowel surgery may be safely eliminated.


Bowel surgery; decompression; morbidity; nasogastric tube

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