Effectiveness of an early postoperative feeding protocol

Ann-Marie Hedberg, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. The increasing emphasis on medical outcomes and cost containment has made it imperative to identify patient populations in which aggressive nutritional care can improve quality of care. The aim of this prospective study was to implement a standardized early jejunal feeding protocol for patients undergoing small and large bowel resection, and to evaluate its effect on patient outcome and cost. Methods. Treatment patients (n = 81) who met protocol inclusion criteria had a jejunal feeding tube inserted at the time of surgery. Feeding was initiated at 10 cc/hour within 12 hours after bowel resection and progressed if hemodynamically stable. The control group (n = 159) received usual care. Outcome measures included postoperative length of stay, total direct cost, nosocomial infection rate and health status (SF-36) scores. Results. By postoperative day 4, the use of total parenteral nutrition (TPN) was significantly greater in the control group compared to the treatment group; however, total nutritional intake was significantly less. Multiple regression analysis indicated an increased likelihood of infection with the use of TPN. A reduction of 3.5 postoperative days (p =.013) with 4.3 fewer TPN days per patient (p =.001) and a 9.6% reduction in infection rate (p =.042) was demonstrated in the treatment group. There was no difference in health status scores between groups at discharge and 3 months post-discharge. Conclusion. These positive outcomes and an average total cost savings of $4,145 per treatment patient indicate that the treatment protocol was effective.

Subject Area

Surgery|Nutrition|Health care

Recommended Citation

Hedberg, Ann-Marie, "Effectiveness of an early postoperative feeding protocol" (1997). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9809543.