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J Burn Care Res. 2011 Sep-Oct;32(5):561-5. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e31822ac7f9.

The results of a national survey regarding nutritional care of obese burn patients.

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  • 1The Burn Center, Department of Surgery, Washington Hospital Center, Washington, D.C. 20010-2975, USA.


Little is known about the nutritional needs of obese burn patients. Given the impact of obesity on the morbidity and mortality of these patients, a uniform understanding of perceptions and practices is needed. To elucidate current practices of clinicians working with the obese burn population, the authors constructed a multidisciplinary survey designed to collect this information from practitioners in United States burn centers. An electronic approach was implemented to allow for ease of distribution and completion. A portable document format (pdf) letter was e-mailed to the members of the American Burn Association and then mailed separately to additional registered dietitians identified as working in burn centers. This letter contained a link to a 29-question survey on the server. Questions took the form of multiple choice and free text entry. Responses were received from physicians, mid-level practitioners, registered dietitians, and nurses. Seventy-five percent of respondents defined obesity as body mass index >30. The Harris-Benedict equation was identified as the most frequently used equation to calculate the caloric needs of burn patients (32%). Fifty-eight percent indicated that they alter their calculations for the obese patient by using adjusted body weight. Calculations for estimated protein needs varied among centers. The majority did not use hypocaloric formulas for obese patients (79%). Enteral nutrition was initiated within the first 24 hours for both obese and nonobese patients at most centers. Sixty-three percent suspend enteral nutrition during operative procedures for all patients. Oral feeding of obese patients was the most preferred route, with total parenteral nutrition being the least preferred. Longer length of stay, poor wound healing, poor graft take, and prolonged intubation were outcomes perceived to occur more in the obese burn population. In the absence of supporting research, clinicians are making adjustments to the nutritional care of obese burn patients. This indicates the need for further research to determine consistent best practices.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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