What Is the Treatment for Postoperative Ileus?


Quick Answer

Immediate relief from the symptoms of postoperative ileus is provided with intravenous hydration and the use of a nasogastric tube to reduce swelling and vomiting, reports Medscape. Long-term treatment of ileus requires management of electrolyte and acid-base balances, as well as reduction in opiate use.

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Patients suffering from ileus have discomfort similar to that of an obstruction, as food moves more slowly through the digestive tract. A nasogastric tube aids in the removal of excess food in the digestive tract, eases bloating, and prevents the patient from vomiting, reports Medscape. Other issues such as sepsis, or deficiencies in sodium, magnesium and potassium can exacerbate ileus. However, these issues are easily recognized and resolved, adds Medscape.

The most important factor in resolving postoperative ileus is the reduction in opiate use. Studies show a direct correlation between the amount of morphine administered and the amount of time before normal gut sounds and function return. The use of NSAIDs while reducing the amount of opiates administered is recommended by Medscape, not only for pain relief, but also for the anti-inflammatory properties. Caution must be used when using common NSAIDs, as they can cause ulceration of the stomach lining and abnormal platelet function. The use of an alternative drug, such as celecoxib, can be used without worry of such side effects.

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