Background: A randomized controlled trial was performed to assess the outcome of early oral postoperative feeding (EOF) compared with traditional oral feeding (TOF) in gynecologic oncology patients undergoing laparotomy with associated intestinal resection.
Methods: Patients aged 18-75 years, undergoing elective laparotomy, and with preoperative diagnosis of gynecologic malignancy, were eligible. Exclusion criteria included infectious conditions, intestinal obstruction, severe malnutrition, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score > or =4, and postoperative stay in the intensive care unit lasting >24 h. Patients allocated to EOF received liquid diet in the first postoperative day and then regular diet. Patients received traditional feeding scheme until resolution of postoperative ileus to start liquid diet. The primary end-point of the trial was length of hospital stay.
Results: Between January 1st, 2007 and March 15th, 2008, 40 patients were randomized to receive either EOF or TOF. Hospital stay in patients who received EOF (n = 18) was 6.9 days versus 9.1 days in the TOF group (n = 22) (P = 0.022). Requirements for analgesic and antiemetic drugs, intensity of pain, intestinal function recovery, mean levels of postoperative satisfaction, postoperative complications, and quality-of-life scores did not differ between the two groups.
Conclusion: Early resumption of oral intake is feasible and safe in gynecologic oncology patients undergoing intestinal resection as part of a planned surgical procedure. Moreover, significant reduction in length of hospital stay was demonstrated.