Oral Food Intake Versus Fasting on Postoperative Pancreatic Fistula After Distal Pancreatectomy: A Multi-Institutional Randomized Controlled Trial

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The usefulness of enteral nutrition via a nasointestinal tube for patients who develop postoperative pancreatic fistula (POPF) after miscellaneous pancreatectomy procedures has been reported. However, no clear evidence regarding whether oral intake is beneficial or harmful during management of POPF after distal pancreatectomy (DP) is currently available.

To investigate the effects of oral food intake on the healing process of POPF after DP.

Multi-institutional randomized controlled trial in Nagoya University Hospital and 4 affiliated hospitals.

Patients who developed POPF were randomly assigned to the dietary intake (DI) group (n = 15) or the fasted group (no dietary intake [NDI] group) (n = 15). The primary endpoint was the length of drain placement.

No significant differences were found in the length of drain placement between the DI and NDI groups (12 [6–58] and 12 [7–112] days, respectively; P = 0.786). POPF progressed to a clinically relevant status (grade B/C) in 5 patients in the DI group and 4 patients in the NDI group (P = 0.690). POPF-related intra-abdominal hemorrhage was found in 1 patient in the NDI group but in no patients in the DI group (P = 0.309). There were no significant differences in POPF-related intra-abdominal hemorrhage, the incidence of other complications, or the length of the postoperative hospital stay between the 2 groups.

Food intake did not aggravate POPF and did not prolong drain placement or hospital stay after DP. There may be no need to avoid oral DI in patients with POPF.

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