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ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 25-30

Effect of chewing gum therapy on selected postoperative outcomes in patients undergoing abdominal surgery


1 Lecturer, College of Nursing, CMC, Vellore, India
2 Professor, College of Nursing, CMC, Vellore, India
3 Professor (Rtd.), College of Nursing, CMC, Vellore, India
4 Professor. Dept of Surgery, CMC, Vellore, India

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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People can tell a measure of their health by their bowel movement. Patients experience delayed bowel movement after the abdominal surgery because of an inevitable response to surgical trauma called postoperative ileus/paralytic ileus. Chewing gum is known to activate the cephalic phase of digestion mediated by vagus nerve, reducing the incidence of ileus. Postoperative ileus is also associated with prolonged hospitalization. Hence, a quasi experimental research was conducted to assess the effect of chewing gum therapy on selected postoperative outcomes among patients undergoing abdominal surgery in selected surgical wards of a tertiary hospital in South India. Totally 45 patients who underwent abdominal surgery were chosen by convenience sampling method. Patients shifted to intensive care unit and who had ileostomy/colostomy postoperatively were excluded. The participants in control group were given regular post operative care and observed for first three weeks. In the later three weeks of period, the experimental group were given one sugarless chewing gum three times a day along with regular post operative care till the participants were discharged. A bowel motility chart and an observation checklist were used to assess the effectiveness of chewing gum therapy in regard to the occurrence of bowel movement. The thirst distress scale and oral hygiene index were used to measure intensity of thirst and oral hygiene of the participants respectively from both control and experimental group. Results demonstrated that the mean time taken to pass first flatus and stool by the participants in the experimental group was 55.71 hours and 84.11 hours, and in the control group was 51.84 hours and 80.79 hours. The difference in the time taken to pass first flatus and stool in the experimental and control group was not statistically significant. The oral hygiene of the participants in the experimental group was significantly better in the control group (p <. 001). Thirst experienced by the participants in the experimental group with regards to dry mouth was significantly less than the control group (p < .05). There was a statistically significant association between the type of surgery and duration of surgery with postoperative ileus (p < .05). The study findings highlighted the advantages of having chewing gum therapy in the regular post operative care with the improved oral hygiene and reduced discomfort from thirst.


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