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Who should we feed? Western Trauma Association multi-institutional study of enteral nutrition in the open abdomen after injury. J Trauma Acute Care Surg 2012 Dec;73(6):1380-7; discussion 1387-8 PMID: 22835999

Pubmed ID



BACKGROUND: The open abdomen is a requisite component of a damage control operation and treatment of abdominal compartment syndrome.Enteral nutrition (EN) has proven beneficial for patients with critical injury, but its application in those with an open abdomen has not been defined. The purpose of this study was to analyze the use of EN for patients with an open abdomen after trauma and the effect of EN on fascial closure rates and nosocomial infections.

METHODS: We reviewed patients with an open abdomen after injury from January 2002 to January 2009 from 11 trauma centers.

RESULTS: During the 7-year study period, 597 patients required an open abdomen after trauma. Most were men (77%) sustaining blunt trauma (72%), with a mean (SD) age of 38 (0.7) years, an Injury Severity Score of 31 (0.6), an abdominal injury score of 3.8(0.1), and an Abdominal Trauma Index score of 26.8 (0.6). Of the patients, 548 (92%) had an open abdomen after a damage control operation, whereas the remainder experienced an abdominal compartment syndrome. Of the 597 patients, 230 (39%)received EN initiated before the closure of the abdomen at mean (SD) day 3.6 (1.2) after injury. EN was started with an open abdomen in one quarter of the 290 patients with bowel injuries. For the 307 patients without a bowel injury, logistic regression indicated that EN is associated with higher fascial closure rates (odds ratio [OR], 5.3; p G 0.01), decreased complication rates(OR, 0.46; p = 0.02), and decreased mortality (OR, 0.30; p = 0.01). For the 290 patients who experienced a bowel injury,regression analysis showed no significant association between EN and fascial closure rate (OR, 0.6; p = 0.2), complication rate (OR, 1.7; p = 0.19), or mortality (OR, 0.79; p = 0.69).

CONCLUSION: EN in the open abdomen after injury is feasible. For patients without a bowel injury, EN in the open abdomen is associated with increased fascial closure rates, decreased complication rates, and decreased mortality. EN should be initiated in these patients once resuscitation is completed. Although EN for patients with bowel injuries did not seem to affect the outcome in this study,prospective randomized controlled trials would further clarify the role of EN in this subgroup.

Author List

Burlew CC, Moore EE, Cuschieri J, Jurkovich GJ, Codner P, Nirula R, Millar D, Cohen MJ, Kutcher ME, Haan J, MacNew HG, Ochsner G, Rowell SE, Truitt MS, Moore FO, Pieracci FM, Kaups KL, WTA Study Group


Panna A. Codner MD Associate Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin


2-s2.0-84870644450   38 Citations

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Abdominal Injuries
Enteral Nutrition
Injury Severity Score
Intra-Abdominal Hypertension
Logistic Models
Retrospective Studies
Wounds, Nonpenetrating
Wounds, Penetrating
jenkins-FCD Prod-256 97250b83e4554f37bec91ca291f44ff4aedcc508