Purpose: Patients treated postoperatively in surgical intensive care units often receive delayed enteral nutrition. We hypothesized that the introduction of guidelines promoting early enteral nutrition is associated with earlier enteral feeding. Methods: Enteral nutrition guidelines were created by the consensus of a multidisciplinary team consisting of intensivists, nurses, nutritionists, and surgeons. The guidelines were implemented through repeated staff education. We prospectively compared data on nutritional support in the surgical intensive care unit of a tertiary care center before (pre-intervention period, from January 27 to April 30, 2008) and after (post-intervention period, from May 1st to August 15th, 2008) implementation of the guidelines. The primary outcome was time to enteral feeding (oral or tube feeding). Results: 146 patients were evaluated during the pre-period and 141 patients during the post-period. Patients during the two time periods had similar demographics and clinical characteristics. None of the patients were without nutrition for longer than 7 days. Oral or feeding tube nutrition was started earlier in the post-period (median 1 vs. 2 days, p < 0.001). There was no difference in the percentages of patients receiving parenteral nutrition (7.4 vs. 10%, p = 0.360). There was no increase in aspiration events in the post-period (8 vs. 9.4%, p = 0.606). Conclusions: Introduction of guidelines to facilitate enteral nutrition in a surgical intensive care unit was associated with earlier enteral feeding.
- Surgical intensive care unit
- Tube feedings
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine