Enteral nutrition as stress ulcer prophylaxis in critically ill patients: A randomized controlled exploratory study

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Abstract

Purpose:

We investigated whether early enteral nutrition alone may be sufficient prophylaxis against stress-related gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding in mechanically ventilated patients.

Materials and methods:

Prospective, double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, exploratory study that included mechanically ventilated patients in medical ICUs of two academic hospitals. Intravenous pantoprazole and early enteral nutrition were compared to placebo and early enteral nutrition as stress-ulcer prophylaxis. The incidences of clinically significant and overt GI bleeding were compared in the two groups.

Results:

124 patients were enrolled in the study. After exclusion of 22 patients, 102 patients were included in analysis: 55 patients in the treatment group and 47 patients in the placebo group. Two patients (one from each group) showed signs of overt GI bleeding (overall incidence 1.96%), and both patients experienced a drop of >3 points in hematocrit in a 24-hour period indicating a clinically significant GI bleed. There was no statistical significant difference in the incidence of overt or significant GI bleeding between groups (p = 0.99).

Conclusion:

We found no benefit when pantoprazole is added to early enteral nutrition in mechanically ventilated critically ill patients. The routine prescription of acid-suppressive therapy in critically ill patients who tolerate early enteral nutrition warrants further evaluation.

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