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JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2019 Mar;43(3):365-375. doi: 10.1002/jpen.1428. Epub 2018 Sep 19.

Volume-Based vs Rate-Based Enteral Nutrition in the Intensive Care Unit: Impact on Nutrition Delivery and Glycemic Control.

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Nutrition Services, Baylor University Medical Center/Aramark Healthcare, Dallas, Texas, USA.
School of Health Professions, Nutritional Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.



Underfeeding with enteral nutrition (EN) is prevalent in intensive care units (ICUs) and associated with negative outcomes. This study evaluated the impact of volume-based EN (VBEN) vs rate-based EN (RBEN) on delivery of prescribed energy and protein, and glycemic control (GC).


This retrospective study included adult patients who require mechanical ventilation within 48 hours of ICU admission and with an RBEN (n = 85) or VBEN (n = 86) order for ≥3 consecutive days during the first 12 ICU days.


Patients receiving VBEN, vs RBEN, received more prescribed energy (RBEN, 67.6%; VBEN, 79.6%; P < .001) and protein (RBEN, 68.6%; VBEN, 79.3%; P < .001). Multiple linear regression analyses confirmed VBEN was significantly associated with an 8.9% increase in energy (P = .002) and 7.7% increase in protein (P = .004) received, after adjusting for age, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score, duration of and initiation day for EN, and ICU admission location. Presence of hyperglycemia (P = .40) and glycemic variability (GV) (P = .99) were not different between the 2 groups. After adjusting for age, body mass index, diabetes history, primary diagnosis, and percent of days receiving corticosteroids, GC outcomes (presence of hyperglycemia, P = .27; GV, P = .67) remained unrelated to EN order type in multivariable regression models.


VBEN, compared with RBEN, was associated with increased energy and protein delivery without adversely affecting GC. These results suggest VBEN is an effective, safe strategy to enhance EN delivery in the ICU.


critical care; critical illness; enteral nutrition; feeding protocols; glycemic control


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