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Randomized comparison of two preoperative methods for preparation of the colon: oral administration of a solution of polyethylene glycol plus electrolytes and total parenteral nutrition.

BACKGROUNDS/AIMS: Two colon preparation methods were compared for their efficacy. The comparison was carried out between whole bowel irrigation using polyethylene glycol-electrolyte lavage solution (PEG-ELS) and total parenteral nutrition (TPN).

METHODOLOGY: Twenty-six consecutive patients suffering from colorectal cancer without apparent obstruction were randomly divided into two groups. Twelve patients received 2 litres of PEG-ELS one day before the operation following two tablets of sennoside (24 mg) two days before the operation without restriction of food until PEG-ELS. Fourteen patients received magnesium citrate (34 g) and sennoside (24 mg) on the day before the operation with 7 days' TPN and fasting.

RESULTS: The average time of defecation was 9 in the PEG-ELS group and 5 in the TPN group (p < 0.001), with little difference between the necessary times to complete defecation (PEG-ELS: 280 min. vs. TPN: 260 min.). However, although half of the PEG-ELS group complained of side effects of abdominal fullness the overall incidence of side effects in both groups were the same of 50%. There were no significant changes between the data of blood test and routine chemistry before and after the bowel preparation in both groups. The purity of the colorectum judged at operation in both groups were excellent, no residue at all, except in one patient of the TPN group. The total bacterial counts of the rectal samples obtained at operation of PEG-ELS group were fewer than that of TPN group but not statistically significant.

CONCLUSION: Colon preparation using PEG-ELS is just as good as the 7-days' TPN treatment and fasting, and exceeds from the standpoint of saving time.

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