Main Article Content
A nasogastric tube (NG tube) has been used routinely postoperatively following elective gastrointestinal and colorectal operations to prevent postoperative ileus for many years. However, studies have shown that a NG tube might be unnecessary and might increase the complications related to its use, so the routine use of a NG tube is no longer mandatory. Recently, many studies have demonstrated the safety of early postoperative feeding in elective gastrointestinal and colorectal operations. Therefore the aim of this study was to assess the safety and tolerability of early postoperative feeding after elective and emergency gastroduodenal operations. After the operation, the NG tube was removed on the postoperative day if the patient was fully conscious and could mobilise regardless of bowel function (bowel sounds + ve) or the volume of nasogastric contents. Then the patient would be allowed to sip water increasingly and gradually to a liquid diet and a soft diet on the following day. Any patient who developed abdominal distention and vomiting would have the NG tube reinserted. The time of postoperative NG tube removed, the time to start sipping, liquid diet and soft diet, the rate of NG tube reinsertion, complications and length of hospital stay were recorded. Of all the 72 patients who underwent elective and emergency gastroduodenal operations, the average duration of NG insertion was 1.54 days after the operation, time to start sipping, liquid diet and soft diet were 2.34, 3.01 and 3.97 days after the operation. Two patients (2.77%) developed abdominal distention and vomiting and required reinsertion of the NG tube. Seven patients (9.7%) had complications but none died. The average length of hospital stay was 6.79 days. Early postoperative feeding after gastroduodenal operations was safe and could be tolerated by most patients.
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