Adolescents with severe restrictive eating disorders often require enteral feeding to provide lifesaving treatment. Nasogastric feeding (NG) is a method of enteral nutrition often used in inpatient settings to treat medical instability, to supplement poor oral intake or to increase nutritional intake. This systematic review sets out to describe current practice of NG in young people with eating disorders.
A systematic review following PRISMA guidelines was conducted by searching AMED, EMBASE and MEDLINE databases from 2000–2020. Inclusion terms were: enteral feeding by nasogastric tube, under 18 years, eating disorders, and primary research. Exclusion terms: psychiatric disorders other than eating disorders; non-primary research; no outcomes specific to NG feeding and participants over 18 years. Titles and abstracts were screened by all authors before reviewing full length articles. Quality assessment, including risk of bias, was conducted by all authors.
29 studies met the full criteria. 86% of studies were deemed high or medium risk of bias due to the type of study: 34.4% retrospective cohort and 10.3% RCT; 17.2% were qualitative. Studies identified 1) a wide range of refeeding regimes depending on country, settings, and the reason for initiation; 2) standard practice is to introduce Nasogastric feeds (NG) if medically unstable or oral intake alone is inadequate; 3) NG may enable greater initial weight gain due to increased caloric intake; 4) there are 3 main types of feeding regime: continuous, nocturnal and bolus; 5) complications included nasal irritation, epistaxis, electrolyte disturbance, distress and tube removal; 6) where NG is routinely implemented to increase total calorie intake, length of stay in hospital may be reduced; however where NG is implemented in correlation to severity of symptoms, it may be increased; 7) both medical and psychiatric wards most commonly report using NG in addition to oral intake.
NG feeding is a safe and efficacious method of increasing total calorie intake by either supplementing oral intake or continuously. There are currently no direct comparisons between continuous, nocturnal or bolus regimes, which may be used to direct future treatment for YP with ED.