Postoperative convalescence is mainly determined by the extent and duration of postoperative ileus.
Dr Han-Geurts and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial to evaluate the effects of early oral feeding on functional gastrointestinal recovery and quality of life.
The investigative team assessed 128 patients undergoing elective open colorectal or abdominal vascular surgery participated in the trial.
|A normal diet was tolerated after 2 days in the free diet group|
|British Journal of Surgery |
The team randomized 67 to a conventional return to diet, and 61 to a regimen allowing resumption of an oral diet as soon as tolerated.
Reinsertion of a nasogastric tube was necessary in 20% of the free diet group, and 10% of the conventional group.
The investigators found that the complication rate was similar for both groups, as was return of gastrointestinal function.
A normal diet was tolerated after a median of 2 days in the free diet group compared with 5 days in the conventional group.
The team found that quality of life scores were similar in both groups.
Early resumption of oral intake does not diminish the duration of postoperative ileus, or lead to an increased rate of nasogastric tube reinsertion.
The investigators observed that tolerance of oral diet is not influenced by gastrointestinal functional recovery
Dr Han-Geurts' team concluded, "As there is no reason to withhold oral intake following open colorectal or abdominal vascular surgery, postoperative management should include early resumption of diet."