Background: The presence of an "open abdomen" after a trauma laparotomy can complicate the nutritional management of injured patients.
Methods: The medical records of patients admitted to an American College of Surgeons-verified level 1 trauma center were evaluated. The timing of nutritional support was noted. The method to obtain abdominal closure was also noted.
Results: Twenty-three patients were included in the study. Enteral nutrition was successfully initiated in 52% of patients before fascial closure. Enteral nutrition was initiated 3.8 days after the initial laparotomy in these patients. All patients successfully achieved fascial and skin closure, obviating the need for delayed hernia repair or skin grafting.
Conclusions: Enteral nutrition can be successfully initiated in patients with "open abdomens." In our series, early enteral nutrition did not alter our ability to ultimately obtain fascial and skin closure.
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