Purpose: The best feeding regimen after pyloromyotomy for hypertrophic pyloric stenosis continues to be a topic of some debate. Postoperative emesis and length of hospital stay are principal concerns. We compared the outcome of infants after laparoscopic pyloromyotomy who were fed using a standardized feeding regimen or ad libitum.
Materials and methods: We reviewed the records of 227 infants who underwent laparoscopic pyloromyotomy within a 5-year period. We compared two sets of patients: those fed using a standardized feeding regimen and those fed ad libitum. The choice of feeding regimen was based solely on the attending surgeon's preference. Each group was examined for frequency of postoperative emesis, time to full feeds, and length of hospital stay.
Results: Of the 227 patients in the study, 170 (74.9%) were fed using the standardized feeding regimen and 57 (25.1%) were fed ad libitum. The two groups were comparable with respect to age and sex distribution. Although children fed ad libitum had a significantly shorter time to full feeds that those fed a standardized feeding regimen (19.0 vs. 23.1 hours; P < 0.01), there was no significant difference in the frequency of postoperative emesis (1.8 vs. 1.9 times per patient; P = 0.68) or total length of hospital stay (49.0 vs. 50.3 hours; P = 0.73) when the ad libitum and standardized feed groups were compared. There were no complications in either group.
Conclusion: A standardized feeding regimen offers no advantage over ad libitum feeds for infants who have undergone laparoscopic pyloromyotomy. Infants fed ad libitum are able to tolerate full feeds sooner and the frequency of postoperative emesis is not increased. Ad libitum feeding has become the standard postoperative feeding regimen for infants who have undergone pyloromyotomy at our hospital.