Nutritional Changes in Intensive Care Unit Patients Who are Fed Enterally

Tuesday, July 12, 2011: 10:50 AM

Hyunjung Kim, RN, MSN
School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Smi Choi-Kwon, RN, PhD
School of Nursing, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

Learning Objective 1: Partipants will be able to describe the importance of nutritional assessment in ICU patients.

Learning Objective 2: Participants will be able to operationalize their knowledge to provide adequate nutritional support to ICU patients.

Purpose:  The aims were to assess the nutritional changes in Korean ICU patients receiving enteral feeding and to understand the contribution of baseline nutritional status to the nutritional changes during the ICU stay.

Methods:  This was a prospective, cohort study of nutritional changes in 48 ICU patients receiving enteral nutrition for 7 days. Anthropometric measures (triceps skinfold thickness, mid-arm circumference, mid-arm muscle circumference, body mass index, percent ideal body weight) and biochemical measures (albumin,prealbumin, transferrin, hemoglobin, total lymphocyte count) were evaluated twice, upon admission and 7 days after admission. The subjective global assessment scale was assessed upon admission. The data was analyzed with descriptive statistics and paired t-test using SPSS statistical software.

Results: A total of 75% of the patients were severely malnourished and 25% were suspected being of malnourished upon admission. Seven days after admission, triceps skinfold thickness, mid-arm circumference, mid-arm muscle circumference, body mass index and percent ideal body weight were significantly decreased compared to the measurements taken at admission. Prealbumin and C-reactive protein were also significantly decreased as compared to the levels at admission. The nutritional status of the patients who were severely malnourished at admission worsened significantly more than in those patients who were suspected of being malnourished. 

 Conclusion: The ICU patients in our study were severely malnourished at admission and worsened during the ICU stay although nutritional support was provided. The patients’ baseline nutritional status influenced the changes in nutritional status during their ICU stay. Therefore, a study of nutritional intervention methods is urgently needed to provide adequate nutritional support for ICU patients, especially for severely malnourished patients.