Enteral access for nutritional support: rationale for utilization.J Clin Gastroenterol 2002; 35(3):209-13JC
Acquisition of enteral access and provision of a sufficient volume of enteral nutrients early in the hospital course of a critically ill patient afford an opportunity to improve the outcome of that patient through the progression of his or her disease process. Failure to use the enteral route of feeding not only squanders this opportunity, but may, in addition, promote a pro-inflammatory state, which exacerbates disease severity and worsens morbidity. Enteral feeding provides a conduit for the delivery of immune stimulants and serves as effective prophylaxis against stress-induced gastropathy and gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Tube placement beyond the stomach into the small bowel in hypermetabolic, severely ill patients prone to ileus and disordered gut motility aids delivery of enteral nutrients while reducing risk of aspiration. Endoscopic skills and expertise in gastrointestinal physiology are vital to the success of a nutrition support service and the provision of enteral tube feeding.