Publications : 2020

ApSimon M, Johnston C, Winder B, Cohen SS, Hopkins B. 2020. Narrowing the protein deficit gap in critically ill patients using a very high-protein enteral formula. Nutr Clin Practice 0:1–7, DOI: 10.1002/ncp.10472.


Background: Protein deficits have been associated with longer intensive care unit (ICU) stays and increased mortality. Current view suggests if protein goals are met, meeting full energy targets may be less important and prevent deleterious effects of overfeeding. We proposed a very-high protein (VHP) enteral nutrition (EN) formula could provide adequate protein, without overfeeding energy, in the first week of critical illness.

Methods: This was a retrospective study of medical/surgical ICU patients receiving EN exclusively for ≥5 days during the first week of ICU admission. Twenty participants received standard EN; 20 participants received the VHP-EN formula (1 kcal/mL, 37% protein). Protein and energy prescribed/received, gastrointestinal tolerance, and feeding interruptions were examined.

Results: Forty ICU patients [average Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score of 20.1] were included. Protein prescribed and received was significantly higher in the VHP group vs the standard EN group (135.5 g/d ± 22.9 vs 111.4 g/d ± 25; P = .003 and 112.2 g/d ± 27.8 vs 81.7 g/d ± 16.7, respectively; P = .002). Energy prescribed and received was similar between groups (1696 kcal/d ± 402 vs 1893 kcal/d ± 341, respectively; P = .101 and 1520 kcal/d ± 346 vs 1506 ± 380 kcal/d; P = .901). There were no differences in EN tolerance (P = .065) or feeding interruptions (P = .336).

Conclusions: Use of a VHP formula in ICU patients resulted in higher protein intakes without overfeeding energy or use of modular protein in the first 5 days of exclusive EN. (Nutr Clin Pract. 2020;0:1–7)