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VOLUME 24 , ISSUE S4 ( September, 2020 ) > List of Articles


Gastrointestinal Tract: A Neglected Guardian Angel?

Citation Information : Gastrointestinal Tract: A Neglected Guardian Angel?. Indian J Crit Care Med 2020; 24 (S4):S146-S151.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10071-23616

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 21-01-2021

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2020; The Author(s).


Role of the gastrointestinal (GI) system is not limited to the digestion of food and absorption of water and nutrients. Gastrointestinal mucosa forms a barrier preventing translocation of microbes into the blood. Upper GI tract performs important function of swallowing and prevention of aspiration, failure of which mandates enteral tube feeding. Rate of gastric emptying depends on gastric volume and contents and delayed emptying is observed both in solid and in fatty food. Cricoid pressure during intubation is an important intervention for prevention of aspiration in critically ill patients who are considered as full stomach. To utilize mucosal barrier function optimally, hemodynamically stable patients should preferably receive enteral nutrition even if they are on small doses of vasopressors. Post-pyloric feeds may reduce risk of aspiration and hence are recommended for patients who are deemed to have high risk for aspiration. Bowel sounds have poor reproducibility, sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, and interobserver agreement, and absent bowel sounds should not be considered as a contraindication to enteral feeding.

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