Objectives: Early enteral nutrition is recommended for patients with severe acute pancreatitis (AP); however, nutritional management strategies for patients with mild AP have not been established. The aim of this study was to evaluate the benefits and safety of immediate oral intake of low-fat solid food in patients with mild AP who were allowed to take opioid analgesics. Methods: In this single-center randomized study, the immediate feeding (IMF) group was permitted immediate oral intake of low-fat (15 g/d) solid food. In the standard food (STF) group, patients received gradually increasing amounts of dietary fat. Twenty-six patients were randomized, with 13 allocated to each group. The primary outcome was the period between diagnosis and recovery from AP. The cost and rate of progression to severe disease were evaluated as secondary outcomes. Results: The IMF group (mean recovery days: 2 ± 1) recovered significantly earlier (mean difference in recovery days: 6.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.8–7.9; P < 0.001) than the STF group (mean recovery days: 8.3 ± 2.3), with a lower overall treatment cost (mean difference in costs: −$460; 95% CI, −$880 to –$40; P = 0.034). The IMF group showed a lower rate of progression to severe AP (IMF, 0%; STF, 15.3%; P = 0.48). Conclusion: The initial treatment strategy for mild AP should be altered from the gradual introduction of oral feeding upon the absence of pain to immediate oral nutrition with opioid analgesics, to improve treatment efficacy and reduce treatment cost.
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