Early oral feeding after esophagectomy accelerated gut function recovery by regulating brain-gut peptide secretion



      The impact of early oral feeding after esophagectomy on brain-gut peptide secretion and gut function recovery has not been well investigated. This study aimed to fill this research gap.


      This study was based on a randomized clinical trial ( NCT01998230). The patients in the early oral feeding group started oral food intake on postoperative day 1. In the late oral feeding group, nasogastric/nasoenteral feeding was applied from postoperative day 1 to 7, after which the patients began oral food intake. Serum brain-gut peptides were selected as the primary end points and tested before surgery and on postoperative days 1, 3, and 5. The time to first flatus and first defecation after surgery were evaluated.


      A total of 110 participants undergoing minimally invasive McKeown esophagectomy were prospectively included, with 63 patients in the early oral feeding group and 47 patients in the late oral feeding group. The distribution of clinicopathological characteristics was balanced between the 2 groups. Perioperative dynamic surveillance demonstrated higher serum concentrations of excitatory brain-gut peptides (gastrin P = .021, motilin P = .027, and substance-P P = .023) and lower serum concentrations of inhibitory brain-gut peptides (cholecystokinin P = .004 and somatostatin P = .019) in the early oral feeding group. Perioperative serum levels of brain-gut peptides correlated with postoperative early flatus and defecation. The multivariate analysis showed early oral feeding (versus late oral feeding) to be an independent predictive factor for early flatus and defecation (hazard ratio 2.40, P < .001; hazard ratio 2.73, P < .001, respectively).


      The early oral feeding program may accelerate the recovery of gut function by regulating brain-gut peptide secretion. Brain-gut peptides are possible treatment targets to improve early oral feeding benefits and promote personalized early oral feeding programs.
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