Bakker OJ, van Brunschot S, van Santvoort HC, Besselink MG, Bollen TL, Boermeester MA, Dejong CH, van Goor H, Bosscha K, Ahmed Ali U, Bouwense S, van Grevenstein WM, Heisterkamp J, Houdijk AP, Jansen JM, Karsten TM, Manusama ER, Nieuwenhuijs VB, Schaapherder AF, van der Schelling GP, Schwartz MP, Spanier BW, Tan A, Vecht J, Weusten BL, Witteman BJ, Akkermans LM, Bruno MJ, Dijkgraaf MG, van Ramshorst B, Gooszen HG; Dutch Pancreatitis Study Group. ;N Engl J Med. 2014 Nov 20;371(21):1983-93.
BACKGROUND: Early enteral feeding through a nasoenteric feeding tube is often used in patients with severe acute pancreatitis to prevent gut-derived infections, but evidence to support this strategy is limited. We conducted a multicenter, randomized trial comparing early nasoenteric tube feeding with an oral diet at 72 hours after presentation to the emergency department in patients with acute pancreatitis.
METHODS: We enrolled patients with acute pancreatitis who were at high risk for complications on the basis of an Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score of 8 or higher (on a scale of 0 to 71, with higher scores indicating more severe disease), an Imrie or modified Glasgow score of 3 or higher (on a scale of 0 to 8, with higher scores indicating more severe disease), or a serum C-reactive protein level of more than 150 mg per liter. Patients were randomly assigned to nasoenteric tube feeding within 24 hours after randomization (early group) or to an oral diet initiated 72 hours after presentation (on-demand group), with tube feeding provided if the oral diet was not tolerated. The primary end point was a composite of major infection (infected pancreatic necrosis, bacteremia, or pneumonia) or death during 6 months of follow-up.
RESULTS: A total of 208 patients were enrolled at 19 Dutch hospitals. The primary end point occurred in 30 of 101 patients (30%) in the early group and in 28 of 104 (27%) in the on-demand group (risk ratio, 1.07; 95% confidence interval, 0.79 to 1.44; P=0.76). There were no significant differences between the early group and the on-demand group in the rate of major infection (25% and 26%, respectively; P=0.87) or death (11% and 7%, respectively; P=0.33). In the on-demand group, 72 patients (69%) tolerated an oral diet and did not require tube feeding.
CONCLUSIONS: This trial did not show the superiority of early nasoenteric tube feeding, as compared with an oral diet after 72 hours, in reducing the rate of infection or death in patients with acute pancreatitis at high risk for complications.