Objective: While deciding on the route of nutritional support therapy, the cost-effective enteral route that preserves the integrity of the gastrointestinal system and supports immune functions should be the first choice. During enteral nutrition, many complications that may lead to the interruption of nutrition may develop. This study was conducted to examine the gastrointestinal complications that developed in patients who received enteral nutrition.

Methods: 300 enterally fed patients who were treated in intensive care unit and wards were included in the study. Patients’ age, gender, concomitant disease, diet, duration, type and amount of product, energy value, feeding route and developing gastrointestinal complications were recorded. Gastrointestinal complications and related factors in patients were investigated.

Results: Of the patients included in the study, 53.7% (n=161) were male, 35.7% (n=107) were between the ages of 66-79 years, and 92% (n=276) had at least one diagnosed disease. 77.7% (n=233) of the patients were fed by nasogastric (NG) tube, 50.6% (n=152) were fed by continuous infusion. It was determined that gastrointestinal complications developed in 40.7% (n=122) of the patients during the enteral feeding process, and diarrhea and high gastric residual volume were the most common complications. Aspiration and ileus did not develop in any of the patients. A significant difference was found between feeding time, daily amount, route of administration and infusion method, and gastrointestinal complications (P < .001; P = .041; P = .003; P = .005). No relationship was found between gastrointestinal complications and gender, age group, comorbid disease status, and the type of nutritional product according to energy content.

Conclusion: Gastrointestinal complications may frequently develop while patients are given enteral nutrition, which should be the first choice of nutritional support. The most common gastrointestinal complications encountered in this study were diarrhea and high gastric residual volume. It is thought that the duration of feeding, the amount, the route of administration and the infusion method may affect the development of gastrointestinal complications. Patients should be followed closely for complications.

Keywords: Complication, enteral nutrition, gastrointestinal system, nutritional support.

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How to cite

Gönderen K, Er Döngel H, Öztoprak Kol E. Investigation of Gastrointestinal Complications in Patients Given Enteral Nutrition. Clin Sci Nutr. 2022;4(1):1-7. doi:10.54614/ClinSciNutr.2022.21515