Effect of immediate enteral feeding on trauma patients with an open abdomen: protection from nosocomial infections

J Am Coll Surg. 2008 Nov;207(5):690-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2008.06.332. Epub 2008 Aug 9.


Background: Damage-control laparotomy has become increasingly common after operative resuscitation of severe hemorrhagic shock after injury. Despite increased use, uncertainty exists about the safety and timing of enteral nutrition. The purpose of this study was to determine the safety and effect of immediate enteral nutrition.

Study design: Data were obtained from a multicenter prospective cohort study evaluating clinical outcomes in adults with hemorrhagic shock after injury and were limited to patients with an open abdomen and no hollow viscus injury. The immediate enteral nutrition cohort was defined as initiation of enteral feeds within 36 hours after acute resuscitation completion. Multivariate stepwise logistic regression was used to evaluate factors associated with immediate enteral nutrition.

Results: One hundred subjects met inclusion criteria; 32 immediate enteral nutrition and 68 nonimmediate enteral nutrition. Nearly all patients underwent fascial closure (93.8% immediate enteral nutrition versus 94.1% nonimmediate enteral nutrition), with an average closure day of 6.47 +/- 0.83 with immediate enteral nutrition and 8.55 +/- 0.85 with nonimmediate enteral nutrition (p = 0.129). No significant difference in multiorgan dyfunction syndrome, length of ventilator days, ICU days, hospital days, or mortality was seen between groups. The rate of pneumonia was significantly different: 14 (43.8%) in immediate enteral nutrition and 49 (72.1%) in nonimmediate enteral nutrition (p = 0.008). Immediate enteral nutrition remained independently associated with a reduction in pneumonia within our stepwise regression (odds ratio = 0.32; 95% CI, 0.13 to 0.79).

Conclusions: Immediate enteral nutrition after damage control appears safe, with no effect on abdominal closure rate. In addition, the reduction in pneumonia associated with immediate enteral nutrition suggests a tangible benefit. Immediate enteral nutrition should be considered in patients with open abdomens after severe trauma.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / complications
  • Abdominal Injuries / therapy*
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Enteral Nutrition / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparotomy
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated / prevention & control*
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / etiology
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / therapy*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome