Purpose: We evaluated the effects of early parenteral and enteral postoperative nutritional support on the restoration of normal bowel function, on the protein depletion that follows cystectomy and on observed complications. Materials and Methods: Immediate parenteral nutrition was initiated after surgery. It was progressively shifted to the enteral route through a needle catheter jejunostomy inserted at surgery. Results: A total of 28 patients with a mean age of 74.2 years (range 55 to 82) were enrolled into the study. Disease was pathologically confined to the bladder in 22 patients, locally advanced in 3 and extravesical in 3. Urinary diversions included an ileocolonic pouch in 15 patients and an orthotopic ileal reservoir in 13. Of the 28 patients 15 (53.6%) completed the protocol, whereas 13 (46.4%) did not. Median time to peristalsis and spontaneous passage of flatus was postoperative day 2 (range 2 to 5) and median time to normal diet resumption was postoperative day 4 (range 3 to 8). No significant differences were observed between patients who completed the protocol and those who did not with regard to the restoration of normal bowel function, and total protein, serum albumin and lymphocyte count. Minor complications were observed in 9 patients and major complications developed in 4. Conclusions: Early postoperative artificial nutrition did not affect the return of bowel function or postoperative protein depletion. Different strategies for more effective nutritional support will be explored in further studies.
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