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Intensive Care Med. 2005 Jan;31(1):12-23. Epub 2004 Dec 9.

Parenteral vs. enteral nutrition in the critically ill patient: a meta-analysis of trials using the intention to treat principle.

Author information

1
Department of Nutrition, Royal North Shore Hospital, Pacific Highway, 2065 St. Leonards, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Controversy surrounds the use of parenteral nutrition in critical illness. Previous overviews used composite scales to identify high-quality trials, which may mask important differences in true methodological quality. Using a component-based approach this meta-analysis investigated the effect of trial quality on overall conclusions reached when standard enteral nutrition is compared to standard parenteral nutrition in critically ill patients.

METHODS:

An extensive literature search was undertaken to identify all eligible trials. We retrieved 465 publications, and 11 qualified for inclusion. Nine trials presented complete follow-up, allowing the conduct of an intention to treat analysis.

RESULTS:

Aggregation revealed a mortality benefit in favour of parenteral nutrition, with no heterogeneity. A priori specified subgroup analysis demonstrated the presence of a potentially important treatment-subgroup interaction between studies of parenteral vs. early enteral nutrition compared to parenteral vs. late enteral. Six trials with complete follow-up reported infectious complications. Infectious complications were increased with parenteral use. The I(2) measure of heterogeneity was 37.7%.

CONCLUSIONS:

Intention to treat trials demonstrated reduced mortality associated with parenteral nutrition use. A priori subgroup analysis attributed this reduction to trials comparing parenteral to delayed enteral nutrition. Despite an association with increased infectious complications, a grade B+ evidence-based recommendation (level II trials, no heterogeneity) can be generated for parenteral nutrition use in patients in whom enteral nutrition cannot be initiated within 24 h of ICU admission or injury.

PMID:
15592814
DOI:
10.1007/s00134-004-2511-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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