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Nutr Hosp. 2001 Mar-Apr;16(2):46-54.

[Audit of artificial nutrition in an intensive care unit].

[Article in Spanish]

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Servicio de Medicina Intensiva, Hospital Clínico San Carlos, Madrid, España.



To study compliance with an artificial nutrition protocol at an Intensive Care Unit. During a second stage and after introducing the modifications considered appropriate in the protocol, to verify its implementation and compare both series. REFERENCE POPULATION: All patients with artificial nutrition support were included. Artificial nutrition (AN) was deemed to be the dispensation of commercial preparations for enteral nutrition, formulas with amino acids and glucose and the parenteral provision of fat, including propofol in this case, even where it was the only source of energy. The provision of crystalloid solutions was not considered to be AN. The period of observation was two months in both cases.


The provision of AN to all such patients was systematically recorded on a daily basis. After analysis of the first series, the members at the unit agreed to increase the nitrogen provision. A second series was recorded, with the data being collected for patients with AN during a similar period.


The study of the first series revealed the provisions of energy and nitrogen were below theoretical levels (both in the corrected Harris-Benedict test and at the fixed prescription of 25 kcal/kg). In the second series, there was greater agreement between the theoretical values and the amounts actually received. The deviation in energy and nitrogen was significantly less in the second series. And although the total nitrogen load per patient did not reveal any differences, there were discrepancies in the daily provision per patient. On most days, the diet provided covered over 75% of the energy requirements. With parenteral nutrition on its own or in combination with enteral nutrition, the requirements of energy and nitrogen were exceeded. There were no differences between the two series. The type of provision was enteral on 55% of the days and parenteral on 18%. There was no difference in the type of provision between the two series, although there was a difference in the type of diet administered in that the second series saw a significant increase in the provision of hyperproteic diets, both enterally and through patenteral formulations, rising from 9-13 grammes to 18-20 grammes of nitrogen. Using the enteral route on its own, there was a discreet increase in the energy load in the second series, but this did not occur in the other types of provision. Both series revealed over-nutrition in terms of both calories and nitrogen when enteral and parenteral nutrition were used together, although there was no difference between the series.


Early enteral nutrition is possible in critically-ill patients, while artificial nutrition was used most frequently and for longer in our patients. The existence of nutrition protocols allow acceptable levels of nutritional provision. Their controlled use allows the correction of deviations between real and theoretical provisions, customizing the nutrition for each patient. The use of parenteral formulas with high levels of nitrogen requires more accurate adjustment in order to avoid over-nutrition.

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