A prospective randomized study of abdominal aortic surgery without postoperative nasogastric decompression
Carotid Artery, Internal
Nasogastric decompression following abdominal aortic aneurysmectomy or bypass, for 3-4 days, is a routine part of postoperative care in many centers. A prospective randomized study of 80 patients undergoing abdominal aortic surgery was performed in order to determine the necessity of prolonged nasogastric decompression. Patients were divided evenly between removal of the nasogastric tube upon tracheal extubation and retention of the tube until the passage of flatus. Preoperative risk factors, aortic cross-clamp time, estimated blood loss, length of procedure, length of intensive care unit stay, numbers of days with nasogastric tube, number of days until clear liquid and regular diets commenced, and the length of hospital stay were recorded for all patients. There were no significant differences in any of the measured variables between the two groups. The length of hospital stay was similar in both groups and three patients in each group required a nasogastric tube or reinsertion of one. In conclusion, the routine postoperative use of nasogastric tubes for abdominal aortic procedures is unnecessary.