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J Burn Care Res. 2013 Sep-Oct;34(5):515-20. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e3182a2a86e.

A protocol of early aggressive acceleration of tube feeding increases ileus without perceptible benefit in severely burned patients.

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From the *Timothy J Harnar Burn Center, University Medical Center, Lubbock, Texas; and †Department of Surgery, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas.


Optimal nutrition is essential to the recovery of burned patients. The authors evaluated the efficacy of an aggressive nutrition delivery protocol. The following protocol was implemented: initiation of tube feeds within 4 hours, acceleration to goal rate within 8 hours, and tolerance of gastric residual volumes of 400 ml. Patients on the protocol formed the study group whereas patients admitted immediately before implementation served as controls for a study period of 7 days after admission. Outcome variables included ileus, prokinetic medication use, intensive care unit and overall length of stay, ventilator days and mortality. Variables were compared using bivariate analysis. The 42 study subjects and 34 controls were similar at baseline. Time to initiation was similar (6.8 vs 9.4 hours; P = .226), however, goal rate was achieved much sooner in the study group (11.2 vs 20.9 hours; P < .001). Number of hours spent at goal was different on days 1 and 2 (6.62 vs 2.74, P = .003 and 17.24 vs 13.18, P = .032) with no difference thereafter. Residual volumes in the study group were higher from day 2 onward, and remained increased throughout the study period (401 vs 234 ml average; P = .449). Clinical ileus was much more common in the study group (8 cases vs 1, P = .037). There was no difference in length of stay or mortality. The protocol was successfully implemented and resulted in early achievement of goal tube feed rates. However, this resulted in tube feed intolerance as manifested by more cases of clinical ileus.

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