Pre-pyloric versus post-pyloric feeding

Clin Nutr. 2005 Oct;24(5):719-26. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2005.03.003.


Optimal management of the critically ill patient involves the initiation and rapid advancement of early enteral nutrition (EN). Compared to parenteral nutrition or no nutritional support, early enteral feeding favorably impacts patient outcome by reducing infectious morbidity and shortening hospital length of stay. Controversy exists over the true risks and benefits of pre-pyloric versus post-pyloric feeding. Placement of nasogastric tubes is easier than nasojejunal tubes, initiation of EN is more expedient, and intragastric feeds may provide greater physiologic benefits. Post-pyloric feeding, on the other hand, is associated with fewer interruptions once EN has been started, may reach goal calorie provision sooner, and may reduce risk for gastroesophageal reflux and aspiration. Overall differences in outcome between the two methods of feeding, however, are minimal. Thus, the final choice for the practicing clinician on the level of infusion of enteral feeding is based on institutional factors (related to protocols and available expertise) and the degree of risk and potential tolerance of the individual patient.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Enteral Nutrition / methods*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Pylorus*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States