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Age and Ageing

Year: 2010  |  Volume: 39  |  Issue: 5  |  Page No.: 624 - 630

Does looped nasogastric tube feeding improve nutritional delivery for patients with dysphagia after acute stroke? A randomised controlled trial

J Beavan, S. P Conroy, R Harwood, J. R. F Gladman, J Leonardi Bee, T Sach, T Bowling, W Sunman and C. Gaynor


Background: nasogastric tube (NGT) feeding is commonly used after stroke, but its effectiveness is limited by frequent dislodgement.

Objective: the objective of the study was to evaluate looped NGT feeding in acute stroke patients with dysphagia.

Methods: this was a randomised controlled trial of 104 patients with acute stroke fed by NGT in three UK stroke units. NGT was secured using either a nasal loop (n = 51) or a conventional adhesive dressing (n = 53). The main outcome measure was the proportion of prescribed feed and fluids delivered via NGT in 2 weeks post-randomisation. Secondary outcomes were frequency of NGT insertions, treatment failure, tolerability, adverse events and costs at 2 weeks; mortality; length of hospital stay; residential status; and Barthel Index at 3 months.

Results: participants assigned to looped NGT feeding received a mean 17% (95% confidence interval 5–28%) more volume of feed and fluids, required fewer NGTs (median 1 vs 4), and had fewer electrolyte abnormalities than controls. There was more minor nasal trauma in the loop group. There were no differences in outcomes at 3 months. Looped NGT feeding cost £88 more per patient over 2 weeks than controls.

Conclusion: looped NGT feeding improves delivery of feed and fluids and reduces NGT reinsertion with little additional cost.

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