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ABSTRACT: We studied the safety of early postoperative enteral feeding in 22 patients with recurrent gynaecological cancer who underwent major abdominal surgery including extensive adhesiolysis, bowel resection and bowel anastomosis. A total of 19 patients (86.4%) had been treated by both radical surgery and radiation therapy with curative intent. In 18 cases (81.8%), the indication for surgery was bowel obstruction. Preoperative total parenteral nutrition (TPN) was not used. Enteral feeding was given through a gastrostomy tube or a jejunal feeding tube and was commenced within 72 h of completion of surgery. The age range was 30-78 years with a median of 52.8 years. A total of 13 patients (59.1%) had a bowel resection and 17 patients (77.3%) had a bowel anastomosis, all stapled. The median maximum tolerated full strength feeding was 50 ml/h for 18-20 h in a 24 h period and maintained for a median of 9 days. In six patients the feeding was interrupted but was re-commenced in five, in four of whom there was no further interruption of feeding. There were no anastomotic leaks and no cases of aspiration. Postoperative enteral feeding was safe in patients with recurrent gynaecological cancer who had undergone major abdominal surgery and should be considered as an alternative to TPN.
State University of New York Downstate Medical CenterBrooklyn, New York, United States