South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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Opinions of South African dietitians on fistuloclysis as a treatment option for intestinal failure patients

A Du Toit, A.B.T. Boutall, R Blaauw


Introduction: Intestinal failure is the consequence of diverse aetiologies and pathophysiological causes. Fistuloclysis is an effective means of nutritional support to selected intestinal failure patients. This study aimed to investigate the management of adult intestinal failure patients in hospitals in South Africa, determining how practical and acceptable fistuloclysis is.

Methods: The current management of type 2 and type 3 intestinal failure patients in South African hospitals was investigated by means of occupation-specific questionnaires, evaluating perceptions and opinions among dietitians.

Results: Twenty-seven dietitians indicated willingness to participate in the survey, the majority (67%) having been involved with patient management in this field for one to five years. All indicated correctly that high fistula outputs would be defined as intestinal failure. Only 47% gave the correct definition of fistuloclysis, while 28% were currently utilising it as a means of nutrition support. All respondents agreed that unsuccessful implementation of fistuloclysis was due to training shortfalls and resistance from clinicians and nursing staff.

Conclusion: There is a positive perception and awareness of fistuloclysis; however, numerous stumbling blocks hamper the wider use of this novel treatment.

Keywords: Fistuloclysis, Intestinal failure, Parenteral nutrition
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