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Coffee & Health
GI function

Effect of Caffeine Intake on Postoperative Ileus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

I D Gkegkes et al, 2019.
Dig Surg, published online.
January 15, 2019



Postoperative ileus prolongs both hospital stay and patients’ morbidity, having at the same time a great impact on health care costs. Coffee, a worldwide popular, cheap beverage might have an important effect on the motility of the postoperative bowel.


PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were systematically searched.


Four studies met the inclusion criteria of our meta-analysis. A total of 341 patients were included. The postoperative administration of coffee significantly reduces the time to first bowel movement, the time to first flatus and the time to tolerance of solid diet. Safe conclusions could not be drawn regarding the additional use of laxatives, the necessity for reinsertion of nasogastric tube or the need for reoperation as all the aforementioned outcomes did not present any statistically significance. None of the complications were attributed to the administration of coffee.


The administration of coffee as a postoperative ileus prevention measure can change the way postoperative enhanced recovery is applied. Even though the mechanism of action of coffee is not fully known, currently available literature demonstrates a significant improvement in gastrointestinal motility without having any impact on postoperative morbidity. Studies with higher methodological quality can offer a more careful evaluation of the clinical use of this popular beverage.

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