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JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1998 Sep-Oct;22(5):315-9.

A randomized, controlled, a single-blind trial of nutritional supplementation after acute stroke.

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Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, United Kingdom.



Although stroke patients who do not have difficulty swallowing may be at risk of undernutrition and worsening nutritional status during hospitalization, optimum methods for nutrition intervention in stroke patients have not been established.


To examine the feasibility of enteral sip feeding as an effective nutrition intervention after acute stroke.


Forty-two acute ischemic stroke inpatients with impaired nutritional status who did not have difficulty swallowing within 1 week after the stroke were entered into a single-blind, randomized, controlled, prospective study of enteral sip feeding. Twenty-one patients were randomized to receive daily oral food supplements for 4 weeks in addition to the hospital food, and 21 patients received only the hospital food for the same period. Main outcome measures were energy and protein intakes during the intervention period, change in nutritional status, disability, infective complications, length of stay, and mortality during hospitalization and at 3 months.


Two patients, one from each group, were lost to follow-up immediately after randomization. Twenty patients received oral nutritional supplementation. The energy intake was significantly greater in the supplemented group: 1807 +/- 318 vs 1084 +/- 343 kcal/d (mean +/- SD; p < .0001) (estimated treatment effect, 723 kcal/d; 95% confidence interval [CI], 498 to 947), as was protein intake: 65.1 +/- 13.8 vs 44.1 +/- 12.8 g/d (p < .001) (estimated treatment effect, 21.0 g/d; 95% CI, 11.7 to 30.3). There also were significant differences between the two groups in the changes in serum albumin and serum iron concentrations between randomization and at follow-up. There was a trend to lower mortality at 3 months in the supplemented group with two deaths (10%) compared with seven deaths (35%) in the control group (p = .127, relative risk, 0.29; 95% CI, 0.07 to 1.21).


This study suggests that enteral sip feeding is effective in improving nutritional intake and status in stroke patients who do not have swallowing difficulties. There also may be some beneficial effects on clinical outcome, but larger studies are required to confirm this observation and define more precisely the magnitude of any favorable effects.

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