Implementing an early feeding pathway post gastrostomy insertion reduces inpatient stay
There is no consensus regarding optimal postoperative feeding strategy following gastrostomy insertion in children. The aim of this study was to determine whether implementing an early postoperative feeding pathway reduces length of stay (LOS) without increasing complications.
A retrospective case note review of all children having a new gastrostomy inserted during a one-year period prior to (July 2016–July 2017) and following (July 2017–July 2018) pathway introduction was performed. Children unable to follow the pathway for coexisting medical or nutritional reasons were excluded. The pathway comprised feeding 50% of normal feed 2 hours postprocedure, followed by 100% of normal feed at 5 and 8 h. Previously, patients were fed postoperatively according to surgeon preference.
116 cases met inclusion criteria, 55 prior to and 61 after pathway implementation. Children following the early feeding pathway had a shorter postoperative LOS than the historical group (median 28 vs 33 h, p < 0.003), while immediate (<72 h) and early (<30 day) complication rates were similar (8.2 vs 7.3%, p = 1.00 and 12 vs 16%, p = 0.59, respectively).
Early postoperative feeding after gastrostomy insertion is safe and reduces LOS.
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Level of evidence