Enteral nutrition (EN), refers to administration of medical nutrition products via feeding tubes into the gastrointestinal tract. EN can be delivered directly into the stomach or parts of the intestine beyond the stomach. EN is particularly useful in patients who are unable to meet their minimum nutritional requirements via oral route, even after supplementing with ONS.
EN products and some ONS are specially formulated to be deliverable through feeding tubes and used as sole source of nutrition either for short or long term nutrition support in home or hospital setting.
Enteral nutrition is appropriate for use in the following conditions:
- Prolonged anorexia/loss of appetite
- After a stroke
- After a major surgery
- Coma or depressed mental status
- Critical illnesses that result in metabolic stress- major burns, sepsis, major trauma or organ failure
- Severe undernutrition or malnutrition