Aim: To study the intestinal permeability (IP) following stress of abdominal operation and the different effects on IP of enteral nutrition (EN) and parenteral nutrition (PN).
Methods: Forty patients undergoing abdominal surgery were randomized into EN group and PN group. Each group received nutritional support of the same nitrogen and calorie from postoperative day (POD) 3 to POD 11. On the day before operation (POD-1), POD 7 and POD 12, 10 g of lactulose and 5 g of mannitol were given orally, and urine was collected for 6 hours. Urine excretion ratios of lactulose and mannitol (L/M) were measured.
Results: L/M ratios of EN group on POD-1, POD 7 and POD 12 were 0.026+/-0.017, 0.059+/-0.026, 0.027+/-0.017, respectively, and those of PN group were 0.025+/-0.013, 0.080+/-0.032, 0.047+/-0.021, respectively. Patients of both groups had elevated L/M ratios on POD 7 vs. POD-1. However the ratio returned toward control level in EN group by POD 12. In contrast, PN group still had elevated L/M ratios on POD 12.
Conclusion: L/M ratio increases for a period of time after surgical trauma and the loss of gut mucosal integrity can be reversed by substitution of enteral nutrition.