Article Abstract

Experience with a simplified feeding jejunostomy technique for enteral nutrition following major visceral operations

Authors: Michael J. Minarich, Roderich E. Schwarz


Background: Background: Perioperative nutrition support has been shown to impact on outcomes for patients with gastrointestinal cancer. Postoperative benefits of feeding tubes must be weighed against morbidity related to placement and use. A simplified jejunostomy tube technique was evaluated for outcomes.
Methods: A 16-Fr rubber tube is secured at the jejunal entry site without Witzel tunnel, followed by a continuous, circumferential and alternating suture between jejunal wall and parietal peritoneum. Prospectively collected data were analyzed.
Results: The technique was performed in 343 of 803 major hepatopancreatobiliary and upper gastrointestinal (GI) resections (43%). Of these patients (male =57%, median age: 65.8 years, range, 24.0–98.0 years), 89% had a cancer diagnosis. The procedures included pancreatectomy (n=189, 55%), gastrectomy (n=109, 32%), esophagectomy (n=19, 6%) and others (n=26, 7%). The operative intent was curative in 78%, palliative in 10%, or combined in 12% of patients. Postoperative morbidity rate was 40%, with 19 lethal events (5.5%), and a median length of stay of 10 days (range, 4–111 days). Tube feeds were administered in 139 patients (41%), and in 17% continued beyond discharge. Use of the feeding tube was linked to treatment interval, length of stay, major complication grade (all at P<0.0001), metastatic stage (P=0.0007) and noncurative intent (P=0.001). Tube feeds beyond discharge were associated with time interval (P<0.0001), length of stay (P=0.0006) and noncurative intent (P=0.014). Tube-specific events in 38 patients (11%) were all minor, without any intraabdominal leak, infection or obstruction.
Conclusions: The technique described is safe and expedient, and the overall tube-related morbidity is low. This procedure can be recommended in cases at risk for major morbidity and nutrition support needs.