Timing of the initiation of parenteral nutrition in critically ill children

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To review the current literature evaluating clinical outcomes of early and delayed parenteral nutrition initiation among critically ill children.

Recent findings

Nutritional management remains an important aspect of care among the critically ill, with enteral nutrition generally preferred. However, inability to advance enteral feeds to caloric goals and contraindications to enteral nutrition often leads to reliance on parenteral nutrition. The timing of parenteral nutrition initiation is varied among critically ill children, and derives from an assessment of nutritional status, energy requirements, and physiologic differences between adults and children, including higher nutrient needs and lower body reserves. A recent randomized control study among critically ill children suggests improved clinical outcomes with avoiding initiation of parenteral nutrition on day 1 of admission to the pediatric ICU.

Summary

Although there is no consensus on the optimal timing of parenteral nutrition initiation among critically ill children, recent literature does not support the immediate initiation of parenteral nutrition on pediatric ICU admission. A common theme in the reviewed literature highlights the importance of accurate assessment of nutritional status and energy expenditure in deciding when to initiate parenteral nutrition. As with all medical interventions, the initiation of parenteral nutrition should be considered in light of the known benefits of judiciously provided nutritional support with the known risks of artificial, parenteral feeding.

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