Early oral vs parenteral nutrition in acute pancreatitis: a retrospective analysis of clinical outcomes and hospital costs from a tertiary care referral center


Nutritional support is a crucial issue in Acute Pancreatitis (AP) management. Recommendations on nutrition in AP are still not completely translated in the clinical practice. We aimed to compare and evaluate the effects of parenteral nutrition (PN) vs oral/enteral nutrition (EN) on several clinical and economic outcomes in AP. This is a retrospective monocentric study conducted in a tertiary care center for pancreatic diseases. The primary outcomes were length of hospital stay (LOS) and associated costs. The secondary outcomes were the use and cost of antibiotics and fluid therapy, and the complication’s rates. One hundred seventy-one patients were included from January 2015 to January 2018. Patients were 69 (40.4%) in PN group and 102 (59.6%) in EN group. There was a significant reduction in LOS in EN vs PN group in both mild AP (p < 0.0001), and moderate–severe AP (p < 0.005). There was a significant reduction in the total hospitalization costs in EN group vs PN group in both mild AP (p < 0.0001), and moderate–severe AP (p < 0.005). There was a significant reduction in the total costs of antibiotics and pain therapy in EN vs PN group (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.05, respectively). Finally, a significant reduction in the infected peri-pancreatic fluid collections rate (p = 0.04) was observed in EN vs PN group. The use of EN in AP is associated with substantial clinical and economic benefits. Thus, the application of the standard of care in nutrition and following AP guidelines is the best way to cure patients and improve healthcare system costs.

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Correspondence to Danilo Pagliari.

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The procedures employed to draft this manuscript respect the ethical standards in the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000, as well as the national law.

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A formal consent was obtained from all the recruited patients. This study was approved by the Ethical Committee of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart.

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Pagliari, D., Rinninella, E., Cianci, R. et al. Early oral vs parenteral nutrition in acute pancreatitis: a retrospective analysis of clinical outcomes and hospital costs from a tertiary care referral center. Intern Emerg Med 15, 613–619 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11739-019-02210-4

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  • Oral/enteral nutrition
  • Parenteral nutrition
  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Hospital costs