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The route of nutritional support in the critically ill; physiological and economic considerations.

Frost, Paul John and Bihari, David 1997. The route of nutritional support in the critically ill; physiological and economic considerations. Nutrition 13 (9) , 58S-63S. 10.1016/S0899-9007(97)83045-6

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Although it generally is accepted that early enteral nutrition is of benefit to critically ill patients, there is little evidence to support this assertion. Nevertheless, enteral nutrition has many advantages over total parenteral nutrition (TPN), the latter being associated with several complications. Animal studies have shown that injury and infection can lead to gut atrophy and increased mucosal permeability. Translocation of bacteria and endotoxin in these animal models may initiate a systemic inflammatory response and cause multiple organ failure (MOF). Again, there is little direct evidence to suggest that similar mechanisms operate in humans. As a cause of MOF, simple splanchnic ischemia and reperfusion may be sufficient with no absolute requirement for translocation. In this setting, enteral nutrition may preserve splanchnic blood flow and prevent mucosal breakdown. Unfortunately there is a widespread misconception that gastric stasis, the absence of bowel sounds, and recent abdominal surgery preclude enteral feeding. There are few absolute contraindications to early enteral feeding and with motivated staff, the use of prokinetics, and the availability of jejunal feeding tubes, the majority of intensive care patients can be fed enterally. Enteral feeding is more cost effective than TPN, but TPN remains a common therapeutic intervention in the intensive care unit and represents a significant burden on health care budgets. Nutrition support teams have led to savings, particularly by identifying patients who have been inappropriately prescribed TPN and also by preventing excessive enteral feeding.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Additional Information: Supplement 1
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0899-9007
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 08:54

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