BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Early post-operative feeding is recommended within enhanced recovery after surgery programmes. This study aimed to describe post-operative feeding patterns and associated factors among patients following colorectal surgery, using a post-hoc analysis of observational data from a previous RCT on chewing gum after surgery.
METHODS: Data from 301 participants (59% male, median age 67 years) were included. Amounts of meals consumed on post-operative days (POD) 1-5 were recorded as: none, a quarter, half, three-quarters, all. 'Early' consumers were those who ate ≥a quarter of a meal on POD1. 'Early' tolerance was the consumption of at least half of three meals on POD1 or 2 without vomiting. Exploration of selected peri-operative factors with early feeding and tolerance were assessed using logistic regression.
RESULTS: 222 people (73.8%) consumed solid food early, and 109 people (36.2%) tolerated solid food early. Several factors were associated with postoperative feeding: provision of pre-operative bowel preparation was associated with delayed consumption [odds ratio (OR) 0.34, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.14-0.83] and tolerance (OR 0.35, 95% CI 0.16-0.81) of food; and laparoscopic/laparoscopic assisted (vs. open/converted to open surgery) was associated with early tolerance of food (OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.17-3.39).
CONCLUSIONS: While three-quarters of the study population ate solid food early, only one-third tolerated solid food early. Findings suggest that bowel preparation and surgery type are factors warranting further investigation in future studies to improve uptake of early post-operative feeding.
- colorectal surgery
- early post-operative feeding
- enhanced recovery
- perioperative care