Nutritional management of enterocutaneous fistula: a retrospective study at a Malaysian university medical center
Publication Type
Original research

Abstract: Enterocutaneous fistula is a challenging clinical condition with serious complications and considerable morbidity and mortality. Early nutritional support has been found to decrease these complications and to improve the clinical outcome. Location of the fistula and physiological status affect the nutrition management plan in terms of feeding route, calories, and protein requirements. This study investigated the nutritional management procedures at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Center, and attempted to determine factors that affect the clinical outcome. Nutritional management was evaluated retrospectively in 22 patients with enterocutaneous fistula seen over a 5-year period. Medical records were reviewed to obtain data on nutritional status, biochemical indices, and route and tolerance of feeding. Calories and protein requirements are reported and categorized. The results show that surgery was the predominant etiology and low output fistula was the major physiological category; anatomically, the majority were ileocutaneous. The spontaneous healing rate was 14%, the total healing rate was 45%, and the mortality rate was 22%, with 14% due to fistula-associated complications. There was a significant relationship between body mass index/serum albumin levels and fistula healing; these parameters also had a significant relationship with mortality. Glutamine was used in 50% of cases; however, there was no significant relationship with fistula healing or mortality rate. The nutritional status of the patient has an important impact on the clinical outcome. Conservative management that includes nutrition support is very important in order to improve nutritional status before surgical repair of the fistula.

Journal of multidisciplinary health care
Dove medical press
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Both (Printed and Online)