From a recent study in NEJM:
We enrolled patients with acute pancreatitis who were at high risk for complications on the basis of an Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score of 8 or higher (on a scale of 0 to 71, with higher scores indicating more severe disease), an Imrie or modified Glasgow score of 3 or higher (on a scale of 0 to 8, with higher scores indicating more severe disease), or a serum C-reactive protein level of more than 150 mg per liter. Patients were randomly assigned to nasoenteric tube feeding within 24 hours after randomization (early group) or to an oral diet initiated 72 hours after presentation (on-demand group), with tube feeding provided if the oral diet was not tolerated. The primary end point was a composite of major infection (infected pancreatic necrosis, bacteremia, or pneumonia) or death during 6 months of follow-up.
A total of 208 patients were enrolled at 19 Dutch hospitals. The primary end point occurred in 30 of 101 patients (30%) in the early group and in 28 of 104 (27%) in the on-demand group (risk ratio, 1.07; 95% confidence interval, 0.79 to 1.44; P=0.76). There were no significant differences between the early group and the on-demand group in the rate of major infection (25% and 26%, respectively; P=0.87) or death (11% and 7%, respectively; P=0.33). In the on-demand group, 72 patients (69%) tolerated an oral diet and did not require tube feeding.
This trial did not show the superiority of early nasoenteric tube feeding, as compared with an oral diet after 72 hours, in reducing the rate of infection or death in patients with acute pancreatitis at high risk for complications.
Note that only higher risk patients were included in this trial.