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Erythromycin and early enteral nutrition in mechanically ventilated patients.

Author(s): Reignier J, Bensaid S, Perrin-Gachadoat D, Burdin M, Boiteau R, Tenaillon A

Affiliation(s): Service de Reanimation Polyvalente, Centre Hospitalier Departemental, La Roche-sur-Yon, France.

Publication date & source: 2002-06, Crit Care Med., 30(6):1237-41.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether erythromycin facilitates early enteral nutrition in mechanically ventilated, critically ill patients. DESIGN: Prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, single-blind trial. SETTING: General intensive care unit in a university-affiliated general hospital. PATIENTS: Forty consecutive critically ill patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation and early nasogastric feeding. INTERVENTIONS: Patients were assigned randomly to intravenous erythromycin (250 mg/6 hrs; n = 20) or a placebo (intravenous 5% dextrose, 50 mL/6 hrs; n = 20) for 5 days. The first erythromycin or 5% dextrose injection was given at 8 am on the day after intubation. One hour later, a daily 18-hr enteral nutrition regimen via a 14-Fr gastric tube was started. Residual gastric volume was aspirated and measured every day at 9 am, 3 pm, 9 pm, and 3 am. Enteral nutrition was discontinued if residual gastric volume exceeded 250 mL or the patient vomited. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: On the first day, residual gastric volume was smaller in the erythromycin than in the placebo group (3 pm, 15 +/- 7 mL vs. 52 +/- 14 mL, p <.05; 9 pm, 29 +/- 15 mL vs. 100 +/- 20 mL, p <.001; 3 am, 11 +/- 4 mL vs. 54 +/- 13 mL, p <.05). With erythromycin, residual gastric volume at 9 pm was smaller on the second day (33 +/- 11 mL vs. 83 +/- 19 mL, p <.01) and residual gastric volume at 3 pm was smaller on the third day (39 +/- 15 mL vs. 88 +/- 19 mL, p <.05) than with placebo. On the fourth and fifth days, the differences in residual gastric volume were not significant. Enteral nutrition was discontinued before the end of the 5-day period in seven of the 20 erythromycin patients and 14 of the 20 placebo patients (p <.001). CONCLUSION: In critically ill patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation, erythromycin promotes gastric emptying and improves the chances of successful early enteral nutrition.

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