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JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2013 Mar;37(2):261-7. doi: 10.1177/0148607112464654. Epub 2012 Oct 24.

A cohort study of nutrition practices in the intensive care unit following abdominal aortic aneurysm repair.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition Services, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



Enteral nutrition within 48 hours of intensive care unit (ICU) admission is recommended for the ICU population. Major vascular surgery patients have a higher incidence of pre- and postoperative malnutrition compared with the general surgical population. Our objectives were to determine if early feeding (within 48 hours of admission) is achievable and well tolerated, identify factors that predict early feeding, and determine if there is an association between early feeding and in-hospital mortality among abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair patients.


A retrospective cohort study was conducted among 145 postsurgical AAA repair patients admitted to the ICU within 48 hours of surgery. Kaplan-Meier methods and Cox proportional hazard multiple regression were used to analyze the data.


Only 35 (24%) patients received early feeding. Patients were more likely to be fed early if they were male (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] = 2.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.8-6.7; P = .13), had endovascular AAA repair (aHR = 2.9; 95% CI, 1.4-6.2; P = .006), had less blood loss (<4 L) during surgery (aHR = 2.3; 95% CI, 0.7-7.2; P = .14), and had shorter length of ventilation (<48 hours) (aHR = 2.2; 95% CI, 1.1-4.8; P = .048). Of 44 patients fed via enteral nutrition (EN), 27 (61%) achieved nutrition adequacy (>80% EN goal) during ICU admission. After controlling for other factors, 14-day mortality was not related to feeding time (aHR = 1.1; P = .88).


Early feeding was achieved in a minority of patients following AAA repair, was related to type of surgery and duration of mechanical ventilation, and was tolerated as well as later introduced feedings. Randomized trials are needed to determine safety and benefits of early feeding in this patient group.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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