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Home Nasoenteric Feeding for Malabsorption and Weight Loss Refractory to Conventional Therapy

STEVEN B. HEYMSFIELD, M.D.; JANET L. SMITH-ANDREWS, M.M.SC., R.D.; and THEODORE HERSH, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: by grant RR00039, National Institutes of Health. Dr. Heymsfield is a Teaching and Research Scholar of the American College of Physicians.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Steven B. Heymsfield, M.D.; Clinical Research Facility, Emory University Hospital GG23, 1364 Clifton Road, N.E.; Atlanta, GA 30322.


Atlanta, Georgia


© 1983 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1983;98(2):168-170. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-98-2-168
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Two patients with malabsorption syndrome and weight loss refractory to conventional pharmacologic and dietary therapy were evaluated on a metabolic ward. Baseline studies indicated moderate to severe protein-energy malnutrition, and severe energy, fat, and nitrogen malabsorption. Metabolic balance studies on low-fat elemental formulas infused nasoenterally over 18-hour periods indicated improved retention of nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and energy when compared with a solid food diet. Because this dietary modification appeared to correct their malabsorption, both patients learned to insert the nasoenteral tube themselves, and a low-calorie solid-food diet combined with nocturnal tube feedings was continued at home. During the next 9 to 12 months, both patients had increases in body weight, and in the mass of fat-free tissue, skeletal muscle, and fat. This therapeutic approach may correct life-threatening semistarvation in selected patients.

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