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The aim of the study was to investigate the prevalence and impact of acute gastrointestinal injury (AGI) on clinical outcomes in critically ill patients.The PubMed, Cochrane, and Embase databases were searched to identify trials that assessed gastrointestinal injury in critically ill patients. Outcome measures were prevalence of AGI among critically ill patients; incidence of mortality among critically ill patients with AGI, and incidence of mortality stratified by severity of AGI.The meta-analysis included 14 studies. The prevalence of AGI in critically ill patients was 40% [95% confidence interval (CI), 27%–54%]; the incidence of mortality among critically ill patients with AGI was 33% (95% CI, 26%–41%). There was a higher risk of mortality in critically ill patients with AGI compared to those without AGI [risk ratio (RR) = 2.01; 95% CI 1.20–3.37, P = .008). Subgroup analyses of studies that defined AGI according to European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) criteria confirmed these findings and showed that the risk of mortality was higher in critically ill patients with more severe AGI (ESICM grade III and IV vs grade II) [RR of 1.86 (95% CI 1.48–2.34), P < .00001].AGI is common in critically ill patients, mortality in critically ill patients with AGI is high, and severity of AGI is associated with mortality. The widespread clinical use of standard criteria with a severity gradation will facilitate the diagnosis and management of AGI in critically ill patients.