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Mucous fistula refeeding in neonates: a systematic review and meta-analysis


Background and objective Mucous fistula refeeding (MFR) aims to maximise bowel function when an ostomy is active after abdominal surgery, by introducing the proximal ostomy effluent into the distal mucous fistula to maintain intestinal physiology. The aim of the study was to assess the effectiveness and complications of MFR in neonates following abdominal surgery.

Design, setting and interventions Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials and observational studies. PubMed, Embase, Cochrane and CINAHL were searched until June 2022 for studies including neonates with ostomy receiving MFR compared with neonates with ostomy without MFR.

Outcomes The primary outcome was duration of parenteral nutrition. Secondary outcomes were time to full enteral feeds, rates of cholestasis, peak total serum bilirubin, sepsis, time to reanastomosis and length of hospital stay.

Results A total of 16 observational studies were included (n=623). Compared with comparator group, neonates who received MFR had fewer days of parenteral nutrition (mean difference 37.17 days, 95% CI −63.91 to −10.4, n=244, 5 studies, GRADE: low). In addition, neonates who received MFR had lower rates of cholestasis, shorter time to reach full feeds and shorter hospital stay.

Conclusion Low certainty of evidence suggests that MFR is associated with shorter duration of parenteral nutrition in neonates following abdominal surgery and stoma creation. Results of ongoing and future randomised trials may help to corroborate these findings.

  • neonatology
  • intensive care units, neonatal

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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