Chewing Gum on Postoperative Ileus in Children (GUM_1)

  • days left to enroll
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Manitoba
Updated on 23 March 2022
abdominal surgery
postoperative ileus
Accepts healthy volunteers


Traditional postoperative care has been challenged recently to improve and speedup recovery (including the return of bowel function) such that patients can be discharged to home more quickly. This approach includes earlier mobilization of the patient, and introducing solid food sooner. Additionally, there is evidence in adults to suggest that "sham feeding" by chewing gum may also speed up bowel recovery so the patient may tolerate a solid diet earlier.

The aim of this study is to determine if gum chewing can enhance bowel recovery in children who undergo abdominal surgery.


After intestinal surgery, many patients suffer from a "postoperative ileus" (POI). The cause is multifactorial and can be attributed to surgery itself, the lingering effect of the anesthetic, the use of narcotics and decreased mobility of the patient.

An ileus can delay the time to full diet, thus lengthening the hospital stay of the patient - sometimes up to several weeks.

There is evidence that early drinking/eating and increased mobility may accelerate the return of bowel function. "Fast-tracking" is well documented in the adult literature; protocols have been put in place to enhance GI tract recovery and thus decrease the morbidity of a prolonged hospital stay and ileus. "Fast-tracking" has been done in pediatric patients but not in a large RCT for abdominal surgery.

Condition Bowel Ileus, Flatus
Treatment gum chewing
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03666377
SponsorUniversity of Manitoba
Last Modified on23 March 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Children more than or equal to 4 years of age
Children who undergo abdominal surgery (both laparoscopic or open)
Children who have an expected postoperative length of stay more than 24 hours

Exclusion Criteria

Children who are less than 4 years of age
Children who are unable to chew gum/swallow (e.g. intubated, decreased level of consciousness, cognitive or physical disability)
Children or their parents are not willing to sign consent
Children or their parents are unable to follow directions regarding gum chewing
Children who have a GI dysmotility disorder (e.g. chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction)
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