Nutritional support is important for maximizing clinical outcomes in critically ill patients, but enteral nutritional intake is often inadequate.


To assess the nutritional intake of energy and protein during the first 4 days after initiation of enteral feeding and to examine the relationship between intake and interruptions of enteral feeding in Korean patients in intensive care.


A cohort of 34 critically ill adults who had a primary medical diagnosis and received bolus enteral feeding were studied prospectively. Energy and protein requirements were determined by using the Harris-Benedict equation and the American Dietetic Association equation. Energy and protein intake prescribed and received and the reasons for and lengths of feeding interruptions were recorded for 4 consecutive days immediately after enteral feeding began.


Although the differences between requirements and intakes of energy and protein decreased significantly, patients did not receive required energy and protein intake during the 4 days of the study. Energy intake prescribed was consistently less than required on each of the 4 days. Enteral nutrition was withheld for a mean of 6 hours per patient for the 4 days. Prolonged feeding interruptions due to gastrointestinal intolerance (r= –0.874; P < .001) and procedures (r= –0.839; P = .005) were negatively associated with the percentage of prescribed energy received.


Enteral nutritional intake was insufficient in bolus-fed Korean intensive care patients because of prolonged feeding interruptions and underprescription of enteral nutrition. Feeding interruptions due to gastrointestinal intolerance and procedures were the main contributors to inadequate energy intake. (American Journal of Critical Care. 2013;22:126–135)

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