Prolonged ileus occurs in 10%-24% of patients undergoing abdominal surgery. Several trials have found coffee administration reduces postoperative ileus, but this has not been evaluated for small bowel resection.
Following small bowel resection, patients were randomized to caffeinated coffee or warm water three times a day until the time of first flatus or first bowel movement. Primary outcomes were time from end of procedure to: 1) nasogastric tube removal; and 2) when the discharge order was written. Outcomes were compared using Kaplan-Meier survival curves.
Thirty-nine patients received coffee and 40 water. Median days to nasogastric tube removal was 3.4 for the coffee and 4.0 for the water groups (p = 0.002). Median days to discharge order was 6.7 for the coffee and 7.7 for the water groups (p = 0.01).
Coffee was safe and decreased time to nasogastric tube removal and hospital stay in patients undergoing small bowel resection.