Sixty-two patients with the short bowel syndrome (30-150 cm) were managed by continuous enteral nutrition (CEN) in the early adaptive phase. In all, 82 per cent were referrals from other units and 85 per cent of referrals had failure of one or more organ systems on admission. There were intra-abdominal abscesses in 41 per cent of patients and 37 per cent had an enterocutaneous fistula. The diet included polysaccharides, medium chain triglycerides and protein hydrolysates, mixed with a high-viscosity tapioca suspension. An elemental diet was used initially in 15 per cent of patients. Thirty-three patients had an interruption of the gastrointestinal tract by a temporary enterostomy. Chyme was re-infused into the distal intestine in 20 cases. 'Zero-time' was taken as the time of operation or, for referred patients treated conservatively, the date of admission. CEN was commenced at a mean of 14 days from zero-time. Total parenteral nutrition could be discontinued at a mean of 36 days and exclusive oral alimentation was resumed at a mean of 87 days. Patients with small bowel longer than 80 cm attained enteral autonomy earlier than patients with a shorter length. Mean faecal volume did not increase following institution of CEN, suggesting tolerance to the high-viscosity diet. In cases with re-infusion of enteric content, the distal circuit (length of distal small intestine 46 cm) was able to absorb 70 per cent of the volume re-infused (mean volume 2700 ml). Body weight and nutritional markers increased significantly during the course of CEN. This study suggests that enteral autonomy can be attained early in the short bowel syndrome, even under challenging conditions. Elemental formulae do not appear to offer a benefit over polymeric diets.
Continuous enteral nutrition during the early adaptive stage of the short bowel syndrome. / LEVY E ;FRILEUX P ;SANDRUCCI S ;OLLIVIER JM ;MASINI JP ;COSNES J ;HANNOUN L ;PARC R. - In: BRITISH JOURNAL OF SURGERY. - ISSN 0007-1323. - 75(1988), pp. 549-553.