Effects of continuous versus bolus enteral feeding in trauma patients: A randomized clinical trial

Document Type : Original Article


1 Trauma Nursing Research Center, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran

2 Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medical Science, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran

3 Department of Anesthesiology, Faculty of Medical Science, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran

4 Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Faculty of Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran



Background and Objectives: Enteral alimentation is the preferred modality of support in critical patients who have acceptable digestive function and are unable to eat orally, but the advantages of continuous versus bolus administration are surrounded by controversy. This study aimed to examine the effect of tube feeding using the bolus method and continuous infusion on the clinical indicators of trauma patients in intensive care units (ICUs). Materials and Methods: A randomized clinical trial of the triple blind was conducted on 74 trauma patients admitted to special care units of a university hospital in 2022. The patients were randomly assigned to two equal groups (= 36). Feeding in the continuous group was carried out through an infusion pump while feeding in the bolus group was carried out by the usual bolus method. In addition, clinical indicators (intestinal excretion, gavage's residual volume, vomiting, and pulmonary aspiration) were monitored for a period of 7 days in the patients. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, t-tests, Chi-square, and Fisher's exact test by the SPSS software version 16. Results: Results of the study showed that the number of times the gavage's residual volume was greater in the bolus group than in the continuous group (P = 0.02). Other results showed no statistical significant difference between the two groups regarding vomiting, intestinal excretion, and respiratory aspiration (P < 0.05). Conclusion: The gavage's residual volume did not increase during continuous infusion enteral feeding; therefore, this method is suitable for use in the ICU as a supportive feeding method.


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