Intensive enteral nutrition is ineffective for patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis treated with corticosteroids
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Gastroenterology. - Baltimore, Md
, p. 903-+
University of Antwerp
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Severe alcoholic hepatitis (AH) is a life-threatening disease for which adequate oral nutritional support is recommended. We performed a randomized controlled trial to determine whether the combination of corticosteroid and intensive enteral nutrition therapy is more effective than corticosteroid therapy alone in patients with severe AH. METHODS: We enrolled 136 heavy consumers of alcohol (age, 18-75 y) with recent onset of jaundice and biopsy-proven severe AH in our study, performed at 18 hospitals in Belgium and 2 in France, from February 2010 through February 2013. Subjects were assigned randomly (1: 1) to groups that received either intensive enteral nutrition plus methylprednisolone or conventional nutrition plus methylprednisolone (controls). In the intensive enteral nutrition group, enteral nutrition was given via feeding tube for 14 days. The primary end point was patient survival for 6 months. RESULTS: In an intention-to-treat analysis, we found no significant difference between groups in 6-month cumulative mortality: 44.4% of patients died in the intensive enteral nutrition group (95% confidence interval [CI], 32.2%-55.9%) and 52.1% of controls died (95% CI, 39.4%-63.4%) (P = .406). The enteral feeding tube was withdrawn prematurely from 48.5% of patients, and serious adverse events considered to be related to enteral nutrition occurred in 5 patients. Regardless of group, a greater proportion of patients with a daily calorie intake less than 21.5 kcal/kg/day died (65.8%; 95% CI, 48.8-78.4) than patients with a higher intake of calories (33.1%; 95% CI, 23.1%-43.4%) (P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: In a randomized trial of patients with severe AH treated with corticosteroids, we found that intensive enteral nutrition was difficult to implement and did not increase survival. However, low daily energy intake was associated with greater mortality, so adequate nutritional intake should be a main goal for treatment. ClinicalTrials.gov number: NCT01801332.