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Metabolism. 1997 Dec;46(12):1412-7.

Total energy expenditure in patients with small-cell lung cancer: results of a validated study using the bicarbonate-urea method.

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Medical Research Council Dunn Clinical Nutrition Centre, Cambridge, UK.


The bicarbonate-urea method for measuring CO2 production was applied to eight free-living patients (mean age, 68 +/- 10 years; mean weight, 69 +/- 10 kg; mean height, 1.65 +/- 0.10 m) with unresectable small-cell lung cancer for a period of 1 day (n = 5) or 2 days (n = 3). The basal metabolic rate (BMR) was measured in all subjects. The technique was first validated against whole-body indirect calorimetry over an additional 24-hour period in five of these subjects. The bicarbonate-urea method predicted net CO2 production to be 102.1% +/- 3.4% of that measured by whole-body indirect calorimetry, and energy expenditure, 101.5% +/- 3.8% of the measured calorimeter value (8.1 +/- 1.6 MJ/d). The 24-hour recovery of label in CO2 excreted by the body was 95.6% +/- 0.5%. In free-living conditions, the bicarbonate-urea method predicted energy expenditure to be 9.0 +/- 2.6 MJ/d. BMR was elevated by a mean of 6% (P < .05) compared with the Schofield standards. The physical activity level ([PAL] the ratio of total energy expenditure [TEE] to BMR) was variable (1.15 to 1.87), but the mean value was only 1.36 +/- 0.22, considerably less than that of moderately active healthy subjects with estimated PAL values of 1.55 (P < .05) to 1.65 (P < .01) and the mean results obtained by doubly labeled water (previous studies) in healthy age- and sex-matched subjects. This is the first time a tracer method for measuring CO2 production and energy expenditure has been validated against whole-body 24-hour indirect calorimetry in patients with lung cancer or a systemic inflammatory reaction. The agreement between the two methods is similar to that observed in normal subjects. This is also the first time a tracer method has been used to measure energy expenditure in free-living patients with lung cancer. The results suggest that TEE and the energy requirements necessary to maintain energy balance were not increased despite basal hypermetabolism, because of the associated decrease in physical activity.

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