Severity of Illness Influences the Efficacy of Enteral Feeding Route on Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Critical Illness

Hsiu Hua Huang, Sue Joan Chang, Chien Wei Hsu, Tzu Ming Chang, Shiu Ping Kang, Ming Yi Liu

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Few trials have studied the influence of illness severity on clinical outcomes of different tube-feeding routes. Whether gastric or postpyloric feeding route is more beneficial to patients receiving enteral nutrition remains controversial. Objective: To test whether illness severity influences the efficacy of enteral feeding route on clinical outcomes in patients with critical illness. Design: A 2-year prospective, randomized, clinical study was conducted to assess the differences between the nasogastric (NG) and nasoduodenal (ND) tube feedings on clinical outcomes. Participants/setting: One hundred one medical adult intensive care unit (ICU) patients requiring enteral nutrition were enrolled in this study. Intervention: Patients were randomly assigned to the NG (n=51) or ND (n=50) feeding route during a 21-day study period. Illness severity was dichotomized as "less severe" and "more severe," with the cutoff set at Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score of 20. Main outcome measures: Daily energy and protein intake, feeding complications (eg, gastric retention/vomiting/diarrhea/gastrointestinal bleeding), length of ICU stay, hospital mortality, nitrogen balance, albumin, and prealbumin. Statistical analyses performed: Two-tailed Student t tests and Mann-Whitney U tests were used to analyze significant differences between variables in the study groups. Multiple regression was used to assess the effects of illness severity and enteral feeding routes on clinical outcomes. Results: Among less severely ill patients, no differences existed between the NG and ND groups in daily energy and protein intake, feeding complications, length of ICU stay, and nitrogen balance. Among more severely ill patients, the NG group experienced lower energy and protein intake, more tube feeding complications, longer ICU stay, and poorer nitrogen balance than the ND group. Conclusions: To optimize nutritional support and taking medical resources into account, the gastric feeding route is recommended for less severely ill patients and the postpyloric feeding route for more severely ill patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1138-1146
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Aug

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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