Background: After 50 yr in which nasoenteric feeding was considered contraindicated in acute pancreatitis (AP), several clinical studies have shown that early nasojejunal (NJ) feeding can be achieved in most patients. A pilot study of early nasogastric (NG) feeding in patients with objectively graded severe AP proved that this approach was also feasible. A randomized study comparing NG versus NJ feeding has been performed.
Methods: A total of 50 consecutive patients with objectively graded severe AP were randomized to receive either NG or NJ feeding via a fine bore feeding tube. The end points were markers of the acute phase response APACHE II scores and C-reactive protein (CRP) measurements, and pain patterns by visual analogue score (VAS) and analgesic requirements. Complications were monitored and comparisons made of both total hospital and intensive-care stays.
Results: A total of 27 patients were randomized to NG feeding and 23 to NJ. One of those in the NJ group had a false diagnosis, thereby reducing the number to 22. Demographics were similar between the groups and no significant differences were found between the groups in APACHE II score, CRP measurement, VAS, or analgesic requirement. Clinical differences between the two groups were not significant. Overall mortality was 24.5% with five deaths in the NG group and seven in the NJ group.
Conclusions: The simpler, cheaper, and more easily used NG feeding is as good as NJ feeding in patients with objectively graded severe AP. This appears to be a useful and practical therapeutic approach to enteral feeding in the early management of patients with severe AP.