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To evaluate transpyloric feeds as they have been proposed as a means of providing enteric nutrition more rapidly and minimizing morbidity in ventilated trauma patients.Between July of 1994 and June of 1997, 80 adult ventilated trauma patients were enrolled in a randomized controlled trial of duodenal versus gastric feeds. Feeding was initiated within 72 hours of injury.Forty-three patients received gastric feeds (G), and 37 patients received duodenal feeds (D). Mean age was 34.7 +/- 15.7 years (G) and 33.6 +/- 17.5 years (D); the difference in age was not significant (NS). Mean Injury Severity Score was 30.0 +/- 11 (G), 33.0 +/- 9.7 (D), NS. Mean Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE II) score was 18.0 +/- 6.0 (G) and 18.0 +/- 7.4 (D), NS. Thirty-four of 43 patients were men (G) and 28 of 37 patients were men (D), NS. Use of narcotics and paralytics between the two groups was not significantly different. Energy requirements were 1.4 times basal energy expenditure at 2,127 +/- 304 Kcal (G) and 2,089 +/- 274 Kcal (D), NS. Intensive care unit length of stay was a median of 7 days (range, 3-32 days) (G) and 10 days (range, 3-24 days) (D), NS. Number of days on ventilator was a median of 5 days (range, 3-15 days) (G) and 9 days (range, 2-13 days) (D), NS. Hospital length of stay was a median of 25 days (range, 9-88 days) (G) and 30 days (range, 16-47 days) (D), NS. Recorded morbidity was not significantly different. Pneumonia rates were 42% (G) and 27% (D), NS. Time to tolerate full-strength feeds for 24 consecutive hours was 43.8 hours +/- 22.6 (G) and 34.3 hours +/- 7.1 (D), difference significant at p = 0.02.Length of stay and ventilator days were not significantly different. A larger trial would be required to determine differences in the rates of pneumonia <20%. Transpyloric-duodenal feeds significantly reduce the time required to achieve targeted enteric nutrition.