Article Abstract

Routine jejunostomy tube feeding following esophagectomy

Authors: Teus J. Weijs, Hanneke W. J. van Eden, Jelle P. Ruurda, Misha D. P. Luyer, Elles Steenhagen, Grard A. P. Nieuwenhuijzen, Richard van Hillegersberg


Background: Malnutrition is an important problem following esophagectomy. A surgically placed jejunostomy secures an enteral feeding route, facilitating discharge with home-tube feeding and long-term nutritional support. However, specific complications occur, and data are lacking that support its use over other enteral feeding routes. Therefore routine jejunostomy tube feeding and discharge with home-tube feeding was evaluated, with emphasis on weight loss, length of stay and re-admissions.
Methods: Consecutive patients undergoing esophagectomy for cancer, with gastric tube reconstruction and jejunostomy creation, were analyzed. Two different regimens were compared. Before January 07, 2011 patients were discharged when oral intake was sufficient, without tube feeding. After that discharge with home-tube feeding was routinely performed. Logistic regression analysis corrected for confounders.
Results: Some 236 patients were included. The median duration of tube feeding was 35 days. Reoperation for a jejunostomy-related complication was needed in 2%. The median body mass index (BMI) remained stable during tube feeding. The BMI decreased significantly after stopping tube feeding: from 25.6 (1st–3rd quartile 23.0–28.6) kg/m2 to 24.4 (22.0–27.1) kg/m2 at 30 days later [median weight loss: 3.0 (1.0–5.3) kg; 3.9% (1.5–6.3%)]. Weight loss was not affected by the duration of tube feeding duration. Routine home-tube feeding did not affect weight loss, admission time or the readmission rate.
Conclusions: Weight loss following esophagectomy occurs once that tube feeding is stopped, independently from the time interval after esophagectomy. Moreover routine discharge with home-tube feeding does not reduce length of stay or readmissions. These findings question the value of routine jejunostomy placement and emphasize the need for further research.