One cause of post-operative morbidity in the elective repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms is the development of a paralytic or 'adynamic' ileus. In a series of 20 consecutive patients undergoing such a procedure, the maintenance of small bowel motility and absorptive capacity in the immediate post-operative period was assessed using barium sulphate and xylose passed down a naso-duodenal tube sited at the time of surgery. This simple study demonstrated that small bowel function was preserved in all cases, and hence that patients could be fed enterally via naso-duodenal tube (in particular using very low residue formulae) rather than using costly parenteral regimens, should an ileus persist.
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