Background/aims: To compare the nutritional efficacy, especially regarding the systemic immunity of early enteral (EEN) and total parenteral nutrition (TPN) in major hepatic resection.
Material and methods: A randomized, prospective controlled study was performed in the Second Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan. Twenty-six patients who underwent a major hepatic resection were divided into 2 groups: EEN (n = 13), and TPN (n = 13). There was no significant difference between the two groups in regard to either clinical backgrounds, nutritional parameters.
Results: There was no significant difference in the nutritional parameters after hepatectomy, such as the serum levels of retinol binding protein, transierrin, pre-albumin, and 3-methylhistidine between the two groups. Among the immunologic parameters, NK activity and changes in the lymphocyte number, the PHA response and the NK activity, which was expressed as a percentage of the preoperative values, was significantly higher in the EEN group than in the TPN group (p < 0.05). The incidence of infectious complications in the TPN group was 4 of 13 patients (31%), although the same incidence in the EEN group was only 1 of 13 (8%). In one case of TPN, a bacterial strain of gut origin was isolated from the intra-abdominal abscess, which suggested that bacterial translocation occurred.
Conclusion: No significant difference was observed in the nutritional parameters between the EEN and TPN groups. Early enteral feeding maintained immunocompetence, and thus such feeding possibly reduced the rate of infectious complications after major hepatic resection.