Obstruction of the intestines due to adhesions resulting from previous abdominal surgery is painful, results in vomiting and dehydration and requires urgent medical and often surgical intervention.
Typical management requires placement of a nasogastric tube (a small plastic tube inserted to drain the contents of the stomach and its gastric juices), intravenous rehydration and prolonged observation to see if the obstruction will spontaneously resolve. Often surgical intervention is necessary to relieve the obstruction. Although the practice of giving patients nothing by mouth might appear intuitive, there is little evidence to support it.
In this randomized controlled trial, Chen and coauthors assigned consecutive patients with partial small-bowel obstruction to receive either standard care and nothing by mouth (control group) or standard care plus oral therapy with a laxative, a digestant and a defoaming agent (intervention group).
Dr. Wei-Jao Chen | EurekAlert!
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