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Tube Feeding Shows Benefits in Short Bowel Syndrome

After postoperative period, tube feeding linked to greater nutrient absorption than oral feeding

WEDNESDAY, Mar. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Following the postoperative period, patients with short bowel syndrome may have greater nutrient absorption with tube feeding than oral feeding, according to research published in the March issue of Gastroenterology.

Francisca Joly, M.D., of the Beaujon Hospital in Clichy, France, and colleagues analyzed data from 15 adults with short bowel syndrome more than three months after short bowel constitution. Patients used 24-hour continuous tube feeding or free oral feeding for a week, then crossed over to the other option after a washout period. Nine subjects also took part in a protocol of combined oral and enteral feeding.

Tube feeding was associated with greater absorption of proteins, lipids and energy compared to oral feeding, the investigators found. Those receiving the combined feedings had greater total enteral intake and net percent absorption of proteins, lipids and total energy compared to oral feeding, the researchers report.

"Currently, tube feeding is only recommended in postoperative short bowel syndrome patients," the authors write. "Tube feeding could be suggested as a potentially effective medical therapy in intestinal rehabilitative programs in short bowel syndrome adult patients after the postoperative period. This approach is routinely used in pediatric patients to increase enteral tolerance and autonomy, but, to our knowledge, results with tube feeding and oral feeding have not been reported in this population."

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