Gastrointestinal dysfunction relating to the provision of nutrition in the critically ill

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: During critical illness, enteral nutrition remains central to clinical care and an understanding of gut dysfunction is therefore important. Contemporary data have contributed to our knowledge in this area and this review will concentrate on recently published studies. RECENT FINDINGS: It is difficult to precisely measure gastric emptying and nutrient absorption as part of routine clinical care. However, techniques for the measurement of these parameters for research purposes have been refined, studied and validated. These methodologies allow the evaluation of novel treatments that modulate gastric emptying. Quantification and an understanding of the mechanisms of nutrient malabsorption may facilitate the development of therapeutic agents to improve absorption and/or formulae, which are more readily absorbed, thereby improving nutritional and clinical outcomes. SUMMARY: Improved understanding of gut pathophysiology in critical illness provides opportunities for the development and testing of novel and targeted treatment strategies, with the objective to improve clinical outcomes in this group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-212
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical illness
  • Gastric emptying
  • Nutrient absorption

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