Early enteral nutrition support in patients undergoing liver transplantation

J. M. Hasse, L. S. Blue, G. U. Liepa, R. M. Goldstein, L. W. Jennings, E. Mor, B. S. Husberg, M. F. Levy, T. A. Gonwa, G. B. Klintmalm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of early postoperative tube feeding on outcomes of liver transplant recipients. Methods: Fifty transplant patients were randomized prospectively to receive enteral formula via nasointestinal feeding tubes (tube-feeding [TF] group) or maintenance IV fluid until oral diets were initiated (control group). Thirty- one patients completed the study. Resting energy expenditure, nitrogen balance, and grip strength were measured on days 2, 4, 7, and 12 after liver transplantation. Calorie and protein intakes were calculated for 12 days posttransplant. Results: Tube feeding was tolerated in the TF group (n = 14). The TF patients had greater cumulative 12-day nutrient intakes (22,464 ± 3554 kcal, 927 ± 122 g protein) than did the control patients (15,474 ± 5265 kcal, 637 ± 248 g protein) (p < .002). Nitrogen balance was better in the TF group on posttransplant day 4 than in the control group (p < .03). There was a rise in the overall mean resting energy expenditure in the first two posttransplant weeks from 1487 ± 338 to 1990 ± 367 kcal (p = .0002). Vital infections occurred in 17.7% of control patients compared with 0% of TF patients (p = .05). Although other infections tended to occur more frequently in the control group os the TF group (bacterial, 29.4% vs 14.3%; overall infections, 47.1% vs 21.4%), these differences were not statistically significant. Early posttransplant tube feeding did not influence hospitalization costs, hours on the ventilator, lengths of stay in the intensive care unit and hospital, rehospitalizations, or rejection during the first 21 posttransplant days. Conclusions: Early posttransplant tube feeding was tolerated and promoted improvements in some outcomes and should be considered for all liver transplant patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-443
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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