Background: Severe acute pancreatitis may be protracted and some form of nutritional support is frequently required to maintain the patient's nutritional status. Recent work has suggested that enteral feeding via a jejunal route of delivery may reduce the magnitude of the inflammatory response. Insertion of nasojejunal (NJ) tubes in the patient with severe acute pancreatitis involves both delay and inconvenience. We undertook a prospective, feasibility study to assess the safety and practicability of nasogastric (NG) feeding in patients with severe acute pancreatitis.
Patients and methods: Twenty-six patients with objective evidence of severe acute pancreatitis received nasogastric feeding within 48 h of admission to our unit.
Results: Etiology was identified as cholelithiasis (18 patients), ethanol (5), and miscellaneous (3). The median Glasgow score was 4 (range 2-7), APACHE II score 10 (4-28), and C-reactive protein concentration 286 mg/L (79-469). Fifteen patients had pancreatic and/or peripancreatic necrosis. Eleven patients developed severe organ failure, necessitating ventilatory support. Six developed multiple organ system failure, requiring inotropic support and/or renal dialysis. There were four deaths (15.3%). Nine patients underwent early, and nine late, ERCP, respectively; six necrosectomy (5 proven infected necrosis, 1 continued deterioration despite maximal support) and 4 patients internal drainage of a pseudocyst. The feed was well-tolerated in 22 patients. In 3 patients gastric stasis proved troublesome. There was no evidence of clinical or biochemical deterioration on commencing nasogastric feeding.
Conclusion: It would appear that early NG feeding is usually possible in severe acute pancreatitis. In most patients it appears safe, well-tolerated, and worthy of further study.