Nutrition given to critically ill patients during high level/complex care (on Italian ICUs)

G. Iapichino, C. Rossi, D. Radrizzani, B. Simini, M. Albicini, L. Ferla, G. Bassi, G. Bertolini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background & aims: Within a prospective study on costs in 45 Italian intensive units we reviewed nutrition support practice given during critical illness. Methods: From June to October 1999, patients with an ICU stay longer than 47 h were studied. Nutrition (i.e. fasting, parenteral, enteral and mixed) and calorie supply by the enteral route were monitored during the first consecutive days (up to seven) of invasive support of organ failure (high-care). Results: 388 patients received high-care for at least 1 day, 200 patients had seven consecutive high-care-days. Some form of nutrition was given in 90.7% of patients, 9.3% were never fed (25.8% of the cardiac patients). Parenteral nutrition was given in 13.9% of patients (78.9% of the abdominal surgery patients), 39.7% received only enteral nutrition, and 36.4% received mixed nutrition. Finally, 77.1% of the patients received nutrient by gut. Nutrition was given in 78.5% of 2115 collected days, 44.1% of the first high-care-days and 93.5% of the 7th days were positive for nutrition. Enteral calorie load on the first day was similar for enteral and mixed nutrition (range 8-14 kcal/kg), it was higher for exclusive enteral nutrition between the 4th and the 7th day (15-19 vs. 11-14 kcal/kg). It differed according to diagnosis group. Conclusions: In Italian ICUs, in complex critically ill patients, nutrition is consistently given in critical illness, gut is widely used except in abdominal surgery patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-416
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


  • Critically ill
  • Enteral nutrition
  • ICU
  • Mixed nutrition
  • Parenteral nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Gastroenterology
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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