The paracetamol absorption test: A useful addition to the enteral nutrition algorithm?

J. Cohen, A. Aharon, P. Singer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Background: Enteral nutrition in critically ill patients given via the nasogastric route is often decreased or stopped because of large gastric residual volumes. Aim: To assess the effect of continuing enteral nutrition in patients with an elevated gastric residual volume but normal gastric emptying by the paracetamol absorption test. Methods: The paracetamol absorption test was performed on all patients receiving enteral nutrition via a nasogastric tube who had a residual volume (assessed every 8 hours) of >150 ml or more than twice the hourly infusion rate. Patients were then divided into 2 groups according to the result of the test: Group 1 (n=8), normal gastric emptying; and Group II (n=24), abnormal gastric emptying. Group 1 continued to receive enteral nutrition. In Group II feeding was interrupted in 18 patients and prokinetic agents administered, while a subgroup of six patients continued to receive enteral nutrition without prokinetic agents. All patients were followed for evidence of delayed gastric emptying and aspiration. Results: Residual volumes were similarly elevated in both groups (p=0.25). Enteral nutrition was continued in Group I with no adverse effects. Prokinetic agents allowed enteral nutrition to be resumed in 88% of the 18 Group II patients. Enteral nutrition in the subgroup had to be stopped because of persistently elevated residual volumes. Conclusion: The paracetamol absorption test may be normal in patients with relatively high gastric residual volumes. These patients may continue to receive enteral nutrition. (C) 2000 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-236
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Enteral nutrition
  • Nasogastric
  • Paracetamol absorption test


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