Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare three methods of postoperative feeding after pyloromyotomy for hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (HPS).
Methods: The authors reviewed retrospectively the charts of 308 patients who underwent pyloromyotomy for HPS from 1984 to 1997. Nineteen patients had prolonged hospitalization for other reasons and were excluded from the study, leaving 289 patients for analysis. All procedures were performed by a single group of pediatric surgeons. The individual preferences of these surgeons resulted in three different feeding schedules: R, strictly regimented (>12 hours nothing by mouth, then incremental feeding over > or =24 hours), I, intermediate (>8 hours nothing by mouth, then incremental feeding over <24 hours), or A, ad lib (< or =4 hours nothing by mouth, with or without a single small feeding, then ad lib feedings).
Results: Of the 289 patients, 248 (80.5%) were boys. The average age of the patients was 5.64 weeks (range, 1 to 21 weeks). A total of 265 of 289 (92%) were full term. Thirty-nine of 289 (13.5%) had a family history positive for pyloric stenosis. A total of 104 of 289 (36%) were first-born infants, 89 of 289 (31%) were second born. The diagnosis of pyloric stenosis was made by a combination of physical examination findings and diagnostic image for most patients. An "olive" was palpated in 60.6% of the patients. Sixty percent (60.4%) of patients had an upper gastrointestinal series performed, and 42.5% were examined by ultrasonography. Overall, 53% of the patients had postoperative emesis. Only 3.5% had emesis that persisted greater than 48 hours after surgery. Patients fed ad lib after pyloromyotomy had slightly more emesis (2.2 A v. 1.2 R, and 0.7 I episodes, P = .002), but tolerated full feedings sooner than patients fed with a regimented or intermediate schedule. No patient required additional therapy or readmission after tolerating two consecutive full feedings, suggesting that this might be a suitable discharge criterion for most patients with HPS.