Background & aims: In acute pancreatitis, traditional treatment has been initial fasting on purpose to avoid activation of proteolytic enzymes and pancreatic enzyme secretion. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of immediate oral feeding as compared to traditional fasting in patients with mild acute pancreatitis.
Methods: Sixty patients were randomized to the two treatment groups, fasting or immediate oral feeding. The inclusion criteria were pancreas amylase > or =3 times above normal, onset of abdominal pain within 48 h, acute physiological and chronic health evaluation (APACHE) score<8 and C-reactive protein (CRP) <150 mg/L. Outcome measures were pancreas-specific amylase, systemic inflammatory response, feasibility and length of hospital stay (LOHS).
Results: The groups were comparable with respect to age, sex, etiology, APACHE, time from onset of pain and amylase at admission. No significant differences were seen between the groups concerning levels of amylase, CRP, leukocytes, abdominal pain or number of gastrointestinal symptoms. The LOHS was significantly shorter in the oral feeding group (4 vs. 6 days; p<0.05).
Conclusions: No signs of exacerbation of the disease process were seen in terms of significant differences between treatment groups for amylase or systemic inflammatory response. In mild acute pancreatitis, immediate oral feeding was feasible and safe and may accelerate recovery without adverse gastrointestinal events.