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A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics


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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2016 March;62(1):1-10

language: English

Enteral nutrition at home and in nursing homes: an 11-year (2002-2012) epidemiological analysis

Agostino PACCAGNELLA 1, Maria L. MARCON 1, Carla BARUFFI 1, Marta GIOMETTO 1, Alessandra MAURI 1, Claudia VIGO 1, Antonella SCANTAMBURLO 1, Luisa SAMBADO 1, Maria SAMBATARO 1, Enrica TREVISIOL 1, Daniela ZANIN 1, Helena SALVAT HERAS 2, Maria C. DE MARCO 3

1 Metabolic and Nutrition Unit, Department of Medicine, Local Health Authority (ULSS 9), Treviso, Italy; 2 Gastroenterological Unit, Department of Medicine, Local Health Authority (ULSS 9), Treviso, Italy; 3 General Management, Local Health Authority (ULSS 9), Treviso, Italy


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BACKGROUND: Home enteral nutrition (HEN) is a well-established extra-hospital therapy that can reduce the risk of malnutrition, ensure the rapid discharge of patients from hospital and significantly reduce health care expenditure. The data reported in this study allow us to understand the relationships between mortality, the place of treatment either at patients’ homes (PH) or in nursing homes (NHR) and nutritional status.
METHODS: Patients were analyzed according to age, gender, underlying disease, the Karnofsky Index, type of enteral access device (nasogastric tube or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy), weight and Body Mass Index (BMI). The duration of HEN therapy was then calculated and the outcome was established on patient mortality or survival.
RESULTS: Over an 11-year period, 3246 subjects were administered HEN therapy. The mean duration of HEN therapy was equal to 312±487 days at PH and 398±573 in NHR. The mean incidence is 406±58 patients/million inhabitants/year at PH and 319±44 in NHR (mean prevalence rate: 464±129 cases/million inhabitants at PH compared to 478±164 in NHR). Analysis of variance was used for continuous variables. The study reveals that >8% (8.6% at PH; 8.5% in NHR) of patients die within 10 days of starting HEN therapy.
CONCLUSIONS: The study shows a progressive increase in HEN therapy and highlights clinical, organizational and ethical issues, which also need to be analyzed in relation to the progressively aging population.

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