Philadelphia, PA, June 28, 2013 For the first time, researchers investigated enteral nutrition and caloric requirements (CR) among critically ill children in a new report published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This study also showed the value of including registered dietitians in the medical team.
Providing early nutritional support through the intestine, or enteral route, to critically ill adults has been an effective strategy to improve the healing process. Using a similar approach with critically ill children, however, may present challenges, such as an inability to accurately estimate CR or an inability to administer the CR because of fluid restrictions, procedures, and other barriers. Despite these perceived challenges and a lack of data, many experts believe that early enteral nutrition should be considered in most Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) patients.
"Our main objective was to examine the practice of early documentation of estimated caloric requirement in the medical record of critically ill children to determine if this would have any effect on their daily caloric intake and the route of nutrition being used to provide them with nutritional support," says lead investigator Martin Wakeham, MD, FAAP, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Pediatric Critical Care, Medical College of Wisconsin, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. "We hypothesized that there would be a higher total daily caloric intake and more frequent use of enteral nutrition when a CR is estimated and documented in the medical record within 48 hours of PICU admission."
Five PICUs participated in the study. Four of these units were located in independent children's hospitals and one was part of a large community hospital. The study team collected and analyzed data from two sources: Medical records detailing the nutritional intake (nutrition route, quantity, content, presence or absence of an estimated CR) of
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Elsevier Health Sciences