Nutrition support practices in critically ill head-injured patients: A global perspective

Lee-anne S. Chapple, Marianne J. Chapman, Kylie Lange, Adam M. Deane, Daren K. Heyland

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Background: Critical illness following head injury is associated with a hypermetabolic state but there are insufficient epidemiological data describing acute nutrition delivery to this group of patients. Furthermore, there is little information describing relationships between nutrition and clinical outcomes in this population. Methods: We undertook an analysis of observational data, collected prospectively as part of International Nutrition Surveys 2007-2013, and extracted data obtained from critically ill patients with head trauma. Our objective was to describe global nutrition support practices in the first 12 days of hospital admission after head trauma, and to explore relationships between energy and protein intake and clinical outcomes. Data are presented as mean (SD), median (IQR), or percentages. Results: Data for 1045 patients from 341 ICUs were analyzed. The age of patients was 44.5 (19.7) years, 78 % were male, and median ICU length of stay was 13.1 (IQR 7.9-21.6) days. Most patients (94 %) were enterally fed but received only 58 % of estimated energy and 53 % of estimated protein requirements. Patients from an ICU with a feeding protocol had greater energy and protein intakes (p <0.001, 0.002 respectively) and were more likely to survive (OR 0.65; 95 % CI 0.42-0.99; p = 0.043) than those without. Energy or protein intakes were not associated with mortality. However, a greater energy and protein deficit was associated with longer times until discharge alive from both ICU and hospital (all p <0.001). Conclusion: Nutritional deficits are commonplace in critically ill head-injured patients and these deficits are associated with a delay to discharge alive.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Number of pages11
JournalCritical Care
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical illness
  • Head injury
  • Head trauma
  • Nutrition support
  • Nutritional status
  • Traumatic brain injury

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