Nutrition in the post-surgical patient: Myths and misconceptions

Luis Alfonso Ortiz, D. Dante Yeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of Review Despite the large body of evidence supporting adequate early enteral nutrition (EN) in surgical patients, iatrogenic underfeeding is common. Myths and misconceptions persist and patients may receive suboptimal nutritional therapy as a result of outdated or uninformed practices. EN is safe and potentially beneficial in patients requiring vasopressor support. Early feeding proximal to a ‘‘fresh’’ anastomosis is safe. Recent Findings Routine monitoring of gastric residual volume (GRV) for tube feeding intolerance is no longer recommended, and routine post-pyloric feeding in patients without evidence of impaired gastric emptying does not lower the risk of aspiration. Awaiting the return of flatus before initiating post-operative feeding is not required. Albumin is not an accurate marker of nutritional adequacy in the hospital setting. Permissive underfeeding may not be beneficial for malnourished surgical patients. Summary This article addresses myths and misconceptions of enteral nutrition in surgical patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13
JournalCurrent Surgery Reports
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Anastomosis healing
  • Enteral nutrition
  • Nutrition therapy
  • Post-prandial splanchnic hyperemia
  • Surgery and nutrition
  • Vasopressors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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