A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the effectiveness of continuous versus intermittent enteral nutrition in critically ill adults

Link to article at PubMed

JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2021 Dec 29. doi: 10.1002/jpen.2324. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Continuous Enteral Nutrition (CEN) remains standard practice in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) worldwide. Intermittent Enteral Nutrition (IEN) may be a suitable alternative method. This meta-analysis aims to investigate the safety, tolerance, and effectiveness of IEN compared to CEN in critically ill adults in the ICU.

METHODS: Medline, CINAHL, Scopus, Embase and Google Scholar were searched for studies published up until 30th April 2020, along with manual searches in bibliographies. Eligible studies were trials that compared CEN versus IEN feeding in the ICU, and reported on at least one of the relevant outcomes - nutritional intake, gastric residual volume (GRV), aspiration pneumonia, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal distension, glycemic variability. Secondary outcomes were ICU length of stay (LOS) and mortality. The Cochrane risk-of-bias tool for randomized trials was used to assess methodological quality.

RESULTS: Ten studies with 664 participants were included in the meta-analysis. The majority of studies had an overall 'High' risk of bias. Incidence of vomiting was significantly higher in CEN as compared to IEN groups (Risk Ratio 2.76; 95% CI, 1.23 - 6.23). There were no significant differences between CEN and IEN groups for nutritional intake, GRV, the incidence of aspiration pneumonia, diarrhea, abdominal distension, ICU LOS, and mortality. Definition and reporting of outcome measures were not standardized across studies, hence this heterogeneity limits generalisability of results.

CONCLUSION: Overall, the safety, tolerance, and effectiveness of CEN and IEN were found to be comparable. Future studies should explore monitoring larger sample sizes to determine best feeding practices in ICU. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

PMID:34965317 | DOI:10.1002/jpen.2324

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