OBJECTIVE: This study was conducted to evaluate the need or other wise for use of nasogastric
decompression after elective laparotomy, as many studies suggest that routine nasogastric
decompression is unnecessary after elective laparotomy and may in fact be associated with an
increased incidence of complications. Despite these reports the nasogastric tube is routinely
used for decompression, believing that its use significantly decreases the risk of post-operative
nausea, vomiting, aspiration pneumonia, wound dehiscence and anastomotic leakage.
DESIGN: Descriptive case-series.
PLACE AND DURATION OF STUDY: Surgical UnitII, Liaquat University Hospital Jamshoro from
July 2005 to July 2007.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Seventy patients were included in this study. A proforma was designed
and all the findings were recorded. All the patients were observed regarding the development
of complications like, post-operative nausea, vomiting, pulmonary complications, abdominal
distention and return of bowel sounds.
RESULTS: Out of 70 studied cases 45 (64.2%) were males and 25 (35.7%) were females. Age
ranged from 10 years to 70 years and mean age was 33 years. Postoperative pulmonary complications
like atelectasis and pneumonia were seen in 3 (4.2%) out of 70 patients. The commonest
operation performed was reversal of ileostomy and resection with end-to-end anastomosis.
Postoperative nausea and vomiting were seen in 10 (14.2%) cases.
CONCLUSION: The study did not support the routine use of nasogastric decompression.
Key words: Selective, Laparotomy, Nasogastric Tube, Complications.