Introduction: Enteral feeding can be given either through the nasogastric or the nasojejunal route. Studies have shown that nasojejunal tube placement is cumbersome and that nasogastric feeding is an effective means of providing enteral nutrition. However, the concern that nasogastric feeding increases the chance of aspiration pneumonitis and exacerbates acute pancreatitis by stimulating pancreatic secretion has prevented it being established as a standard of care. We aimed to evaluate the differences in safety and tolerance between nasogastric and nasojejunal feeding by assessing the impact of the two approaches on the incidence of mortality, tracheal aspiration, diarrhea, exacerbation of pain, and meeting the energy balance in patients with severe acute pancreatitis.
Method: We searched the electronic databases of the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PubMed, and EMBASE. We included prospective randomized controlled trials comparing nasogastric and nasojejunal feeding in patients with predicted severe acute pancreatitis. Two reviewers assessed the quality of each study and collected data independently. Disagreements were resolved by discussion among the two reviewers and any of the other authors of the paper. We performed a meta-analysis and reported summary estimates of outcomes as Risk Ratio (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results: We included three randomized controlled trials involving a total of 157 patients. The demographics of the patients in the nasogastric and nasojejunal feeding groups were comparable. There were no significant differences in the incidence of mortality (RR=0.69, 95% CI: 0.37 to 1.29, P=0.25); tracheal aspiration (RR=0.46, 95% CI: 0.14 to 1.53, P=0.20); diarrhea (RR=1.43, 95% CI: 0.59 to 3.45, P=0.43); exacerbation of pain (RR=0.94, 95% CI: 0.32 to 2.70, P=0.90); and meeting energy balance (RR=1.00, 95% CI: 0.92 to 1.09, P=0.97) between the two groups. Nasogastric feeding was not inferior to nasojejunal feeding.
Conclusions: Nasogastric feeding is safe and well tolerated compared with nasojejunal feeding. Study limitations included a small total sample size among others. More high-quality large-scale randomized controlled trials are needed to validate the use of nasogastric feeding instead of nasojejunal feeding.