Hunger-Based Versus Conventional Oral Feeding in Moderate and Severe Acute Pancreatitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Dig Dis Sci. 2021 Apr 30;1-8. doi: 10.1007/s10620-021-06992-6. Online ahead of print.


Background: The length of hospitalization is prolonged in patients with acute pancreatitis due to delay in feeding. The present study aimed at evaluating hunger-based early feeding for its efficacy in reducing length of hospitalisation.

Aims and methods: This was a parallel arm superiority randomized control trial. Patients with moderate and severe acute pancreatitis were randomised into hunger-based feeding and conventional feeding groups. Patients in hunger-based feeding group commenced feeding once they felt hungry and in conventional feeding group after normalization of biochemical parameters and resolution of symptoms. Patients were followed up till their discharge and were analyzed for length of hospitalisation, fasting duration, feed intolerance, incidence of infective morbidities and invasive procedures.

Results: Hunger-based feeding and conventional feeding group included 56 and 54 patients, respectively. Hunger-based feeding led to a decrease in length of hospitalization (6.3 days in hunger-based feeding vs 7.3 days in conventional feeding group, P = 0.041) and fasting duration (1.6 days in hunger-based feeding vs 2.7 days in conventional feeding group, P = 0.001).The incidence of feed intolerance (P = 0.098), infective morbidities and invasive non-surgical procedures were similar in both the groups.

Conclusion: Hunger-based feeding significantly reduces length of hospitalization and fasting duration in cases of moderate and severe acute pancreatitis without any significant rise in the incidence of complications. Registration number of Clinical Trails Registry India CTRI/2019/01/017,144.

Keywords: Acute pancreatitis; Enteral nutrition; Feeding in pancreatitis; Hunger-based feeding.