Does abdominal massage improve gastrointestinal functions of intensive care patients with an endotracheal tube?: A randomized clinical trial.
Introduction: Gastrointestinal dysfunction is one of the most common problems among patients hospitalized in intensive care units. Currently, medicinal and non-medicinal methods are being used to prevent gastrointestinal problems. Among non-medicinal methods, abdominal massage is considered as a relatively acceptable method. The present study aims to examine the effect of abdominal massage on gastrointestinal functions of the intensive care patients with an endotracheal tube.
Materials and methods: In this clinical trial, 70 intensive care patients with an endotracheal tube were chosen by convenience sampling and allocated to an intervention or a control group randomly. In the intervention group, a 15-min abdominal massage was conducted twice a day for three days, while the control group received only routine cares. The abdominal circumference, gastric residual volume, times of defecation, and frequency of constipation were measured.
Results: Gastric residual volume decreased significantly in the intervention group and increased significantly in the control group; however, there was no significant difference between two groups (P = .15). There was a significant difference between two groups regarding abdominal circumference and it was decreased in the intervention group (P < .001). The defecation times significantly increased in the intervention group (P = .002). After the intervention, the prevalence of constipation was significantly decreased in the intervention group (P = .008).
Conclusion: The results revealed that abdominal massage could improve gastrointestinal functions in enterally fed patients with an endotracheal tube. It is suggested to use abdominal massage as an adjunct therapy for improving gastrointestinal functions in intensive care patients.
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