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A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics

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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2000 December;46(4):199-206

language: English, Italian

Enteral nutrition in patients with chronic neurological diseases

Caglià P., Luca S., Gandolfo L., Amodeo C.


Background. Malnutrition is commonly considered an important risk factor that can produce a negative influence on the prognosis of patients with chronic neurological diseases. The reduced caloric or proteic intake due to the motor or cognitive dysfunction, the hypercatabolic state due to infections, the abnormal gastrointestinal motility are the main mechanisms responsible for a state of malnutrition.
Methods. Between January and December 1999 fourteen patients with chronic neurological diseases were treated. Ten of them had had a stroke, four due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). After the evaluation of nutritional status the patients received enteral nutrition (EN) by placement of a nasointestinal feeding tube or a Bengmark tube. Glycaemia, blood urea nitrogen, serum creatinine, electrolytes, glycosuria, glutamic-oxalacetic and glutamic pyruvic transaminase were monitored in all patients. Polymeric enteral feeding was administered by an infusion pump. Standard nourished patients (7/14) received a 30 Kcal/kg/day support, the undernourished ones (6 low, 1 moderate malnutrition) received a 35-40 Kcal/kg/day support.
Results. The complete caloric supply was reached in three-four days. Both of the groups received continuous feeding infusion during hospitalization. For the patients who continued the nutritional support at home (3/14) refeeding was performed only during night-time. In the patients with stroke the optimal/standard weight was reached within one month. In these patients oral nutrition was started within 45 days of treatment taking into account the restored swallowing function. In the patients with ALS the improvement of nutritional standards was reached within the first month and complete restoration within the second/third month.
Conclusions. On the basis of our experience enteral nutrition represents an effective refeeding procedure in patients with chronic neurological diseases.

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