Physiologic monitoring of the patient’s metabolic response to illness and nutritional needs has been available for many decades. Traditional methods for estimating and intermittently assessing the patient’s metabolic status provide incomplete and often misleading information. The measurement oxygen consumption (VO2) and carbon dioxide production (VCO2) for assessment of the critically ill patient’s metabolic status has been underutilized partly because of the limitations of available technologies. Recent advances in gas exchange technologies have made VO2 and VCO2 assessment readily available at the bedside on a continuous basis. This article provides a clinical review of specific current literature related to indirect calorimetry. A synthesis of the data supports the use of gas exchange measurements of VO2 and VCO2 for serial assessment of metabolic changes and for monitoring of the patient’s nutritional status. Furthermore, a multidisciplinary approach to metabolic monitoring and nutritional assessment provides a cost-efficient means of patient care, which, when properly implemented, improves patient outcomes.