Trans-anastomotic tube feeding in the management of congenital duodenal obstruction: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Pediatr Surg Int. 2021 Nov;37(11):1489-1498. doi: 10.1007/s00383-021-04954-7. Epub 2021 Jul 1.


Background: Feed intolerance is a common problem in neonates with congenital duodenal obstruction (CDO). Some surgeons insert trans-anastomotic tubes (TAT) to facilitate feed tolerance. We conducted a systematic review to evaluate the efficacy and safety of TATs in CDO.

Methods: Medline, EmBase, CINAHL, and Cochrane Library were searched till July 2020. Risk of bias was assessed using ROBINS-I tool. Meta-analysis was conducted using Random Effects Model.

Results: No randomized controlled trials addressing the question were identified. In the 6 included observational studies, 96 infants underwent intraoperative TAT placement and 117 did not. Four studies reported benefits of TAT such as early attainment of full feeds and decreased need for parenteral nutrition. Two studies reported better outcomes in the no-TAT group. Accidental removal of TAT without clinical harm was reported in three studies [5/37 (14%), 4/17 (23%), and 2/4 (50%)]. Overall meta-analysis found no differences between the groups on any outcome. However, sensitivity analysis after excluding two studies with high risk of bias found that TAT tubes are associated with shorter duration of PN and shorter time to full enteral feeds. GRADE of evidence was very low for all outcomes.

Conclusions: Evidence is limited regarding the efficacy and safety of intraoperative TAT placement in neonates with CDO. Well-designed RCTs are needed to address the issue definitively.

Keywords: Congenital duodenal obstruction; Feed intolerance; Parenteral nutrition; Trans anastomotic tube.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anastomosis, Surgical
  • Duodenal Obstruction* / therapy
  • Enteral Nutrition*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Parenteral Nutrition
  • Parenteral Nutrition, Total