Delayed gastric emptying is a prevalent problem in intensive care unit (ICU) patients on mechanical ventilation receiving enteral nutrition. This study was aimed to assess the effect of peppermint essential oil (Supermint drops) on gastric emptying in these patients.
In this clinical trial study, 60 mechanically ventilated ICU patients were randomly assigned to Supermint and control groups. From the first day of their feeding, patients in the intervention and control groups received 20 drops of the Supermint and placebo solutions, mixed with 40 ml of water, three times daily for four days. The gastric residual volume (GRV) was measured at the baseline and during four days of intervention. Data were analyzed using a generalized estimation equation (GEE) regression model.
The mean age of patients was 71.5 (SD = 14.2), and 65.5% were hospitalized for Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The GEE regression model results showed that SuperMint significantly reduces the mean of GRV when compared to placebo (p < 0.001); for each unit increase in time, the average of GRV in the Supermint group was 1.16 (95% confidence interval: 0.75, 1.57) lower than the placebo group. GRV showed a non-significant increase of 0.07 for each unit increase in time in the control group, whereas it decreased significantly by 1.09 in the Supermint group.
The current study's findings were encouraging and indicated that peppermint essential oil could be used in GVR reduction in ICU patients on mechanical ventilation. Further study are needed to confirm this finding, especially among COVID-19 patients.