Feeding the injured intestine: Enteral nutrition in the critically ill patient

John E. Mazuski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The utilization of enteral nutrition in critically ill patients is frequently suboptimal. This may be due, in part, to ongoing controversies regarding appropriate use of enteral support, but there are also perceived barriers to its use even when there is good evidence that it can be given. This review was undertaken to outline some of these controversies and barriers to use of enteral nutrition in the ICU. RECENT FINDINGS: Although the advantages of enteral nutrition may have been overstated, it remains preferable to parenteral nutrition for support of critically ill patients. Early initiation of enteral support is a reasonable approach. Many patients with perceived contraindications to enteral therapy are actually good candidates for its use. Frequent interruptions in enteral nutrition lead to suboptimal nutrient delivery, but might be overcome by use of specific protocols emphasizing safe and effective utilization of enteral support. SUMMARY: Use of enteral nutritional support is recommended for critically ill patients requiring specialized nutritional support. Barriers to its use could be overcome by better educating providers about indications for use and by developing methods to avoid undue interruption of therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-437
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Critical Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Critical care
  • Enteral nutrition
  • Gastric residual volumes
  • Intensive care unit
  • Intestinal ischemia
  • Nutrition support
  • Open abdomen
  • Pancreatitis
  • Parenteral nutrition
  • Postpyloric feeding tube
  • Protocols


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