To determine the relationship between stroke and lower esophageal dysfunction with vomiting and to identify an optimal nutrition protocol based on our findings.
Patients and Methods
The lower and upper esophageal sphincter functions were assessed in 35 patients who had an acute stroke to determine whether gastric or jejunal enteral feeding was the optimal route. Stroke was due to unilateral ischemia in 20 patients, unilateral intracerebral hemorrhage in 8 patients, and global ischemia in 7 patients. Our study consisted of 18 men and 17 women with an average age of 64 years.
Using standard esophageal manometric definitions, the lower esophageal sphincter function was below normal in 24 patients: 3 had global anoxia, 5 had unilateral hemorrhage, and 16 had unilateral ischemia. The upper esophageal sphincter function was low in 30 patients: 6 had global anoxia, 7 had unilateral hemorrhage, and 17 had unilateral ischemia. Based on lower esophageal sphincter pressure, 7 patients underwent tube gastrostomy and 13 patients underwent tube jejunostomy placement. All tolerated enteral alimentation well. Prior to lower esophageal sphincter assessment, 4 patients had percutaneous endoscopy gastrostomy feedings that led to aspiration pneumonitis and consultation for tracheostomy; 2 terminally ill patients were referred to the ethics service, and 2 were converted to feeding via jejunostomy tube at the time of tracheostomy and did well.
Vomiting with aspiration due to lower esophageal sphincter dysfunction is common after acute strokes. Esophageal manometry serves as a guide to find the optimal feeding route.