Enteral versus parenteral nutrition for acute pancreatitis

M Al-Omran, A Groof, D Wilke
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2003, (1): CD002837

BACKGROUND: Acute pancreatitis creates a catabolic stress state promoting a systemic inflammatory response and nutritional deterioration. Adequate supply of nutrients plays an important role to ensure optimum recovery. Total parenteral nutrition (TPN) has been the standard practice for providing exogenous nutrients to patients with severe acute pancreatitis. However, recent data suggest that enteral nutrition (EN) is feasible. Thus, a comparison of EN and TPN in patients with acute pancreatitis needs to be made.

OBJECTIVES: To compare the effect of total parenteral nutrition (TPN) versus enteral nutrition (EN) on mortality, morbidity and length of hospital stay in patient with acute pancreatitis.

SEARCH STRATEGY: Trials were identified by computerized searches of The Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, MEDLINE, and EMBASE. Additional studies were identified and included where relevant by searching Scisearch, the bibliographies of review articles and identified trials, and personal files. The search was undertaken in August, 2000 and updated in September 2002. No language restrictions were applied.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomized clinical trials, in which nutrition support with TPN were compared to EN in patients with acute pancreatitis.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two reviewers independently abstracted data and assessed trial quality. Information was collected on death, length of hospital stay, systemic infection, local septic complications, and other local complications.

MAIN RESULTS: Two trials with a total of 70 participants were included. The relative risk (RR) for death with EN vs TPN was 0.56 (95% CI 0.05 to 5.62). Mean length of hospital stay was reduced with EN (WMD -2.20, 95% CI -3.62 to -0.78). RR for systemic infection with EN vs TPN was 0.61 (95% CI 0.29 to 1.28). In one trial, RR for local septic complications and other local complications with EN vs TPN was 0.56 (95% CI 0.12 to 2.68) and 0.16 (95% CI 0.01 to 2.86) respectively.

REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: Although there is a trend towards reductions in the adverse outcomes of acute pancreatitis after administration of EN, clearly there are insufficient data to draw firm conclusions about the effectiveness and safety of EN versus TPN. Further trials are required with sufficient size to account for clinical heterogeneity and to measure all relevant outcomes.

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