Energy and protein deficits throughout hospitalization in patients admitted with a traumatic brain injury

Lee-anne S. Chapple, Adam M. Deane, Daren K. Heyland, Kylie Lange, Amelia J. Kranz, Lauren T. Williams, Marianne J. Chapman

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87 Citations (Scopus)


Background and aims Patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) experience considerable energy and protein deficits in the intensive care unit (ICU) and these are associated with adverse outcomes. However, nutrition delivery after ICU discharge during ward-based care, particularly from oral diet, has not been measured. This study aimed to quantify energy and protein delivery and deficits over the entire hospitalization for critically ill TBI patients. Methods Consecutively admitted adult patients with a moderate-severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale 3–12) over 12 months were eligible. Observational data on energy and protein delivered from all routes were collected until hospital discharge or day 90 and compared to dietician prescriptions. Oral intake was quantified using weighed food records on three pre-specified days each week. Data are mean (SD) unless indicated. Cumulative deficit is the mean absolute difference between intake and estimated requirements. Results Thirty-seven patients [45.3 (15.8) years; 87% male; median APACHE II 18 (IQR: 14–22)] were studied for 1512 days. Median duration of ICU and ward-based stay was 13.4 (IQR: 6.4–17.9) and 19.9 (9.6–32.0) days, respectively. Over the entire hospitalization patients had a cumulative deficit of 18,242 (16,642) kcal and 1315 (1028) g protein. Energy and protein intakes were less in ICU than the ward (1798 (800) vs 1980 (915) kcal/day, p = 0.015; 79 (47) vs 89 (41) g/day protein, p = 0.001). Energy deficits were almost two-fold greater in patients exclusively receiving nutrition orally than tube-fed (806 (616) vs 445 (567) kcal/day, p = 0.016) while protein deficits were similar (40 (5) vs 37 (6) g/day, p = 0.616). Primary reasons for interruptions to enteral and oral nutrition were fasting for surgery/procedures and patient-related reasons, respectively. Conclusions Patients admitted to ICU with a TBI have energy and protein deficits that persist after ICU discharge, leading to considerable shortfalls over the entire hospitalization. Patients ingesting nutrition orally are at particular risk of energy deficit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1315-1322
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical care
  • Head injury
  • Nutrition
  • Oral intake
  • Traumatic brain injury

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