Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 834–840 | Cite as

Early enteral immunonutrition in patients with severe sepsis

Results of an interim analysis of a randomized multicentre clinical trial
  • Guido BertoliniEmail author
  • Gaetano Iapichino
  • Danilo Radrizzani
  • Rebecca Facchini
  • Bruno Simini
  • Paola Bruzzone
  • Giancarlo Zanforlin
  • Gianni Tognoni
Brief Report



To compare the mortality of critically ill patients given either enteral feeding with an immune-enhancing formula or parenteral nutrition (PN). We report the results of a planned interim analysis on patients with severe sepsis which was undertaken earlier than planned once a meta-analysis suggested excess mortality in patients with severe sepsis given enteral immunonutrition.


Randomised multicentre unblinded controlled clinical trial.


Thirty-three General Intensive Care Units in Italy.

Patients and participants

Among the 237 recruited patients, 39 had severe sepsis or septic shock; 21 of them received PN.


Eligible patients received either total PN or enteral nutrition, the latter containing extra L-arginine, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, beta carotene, zinc, and selenium.

Measurements and results

The primary endpoint for the subgroup analysis on patients with severe sepsis was mortality on Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The ICU mortality of patients with severe sepsis given enteral nutrition (EN) was higher than for those given PN (44.4% vs 14.3%; p=0.039). More patients given EN than patients given PN still had severe sepsis when they died (38.9% vs 9.5%, p=0.055). Recruitment of patients with severe sepsis was subsequently stopped.


Our results show that enteral immunonutrition, compared to PN, may be associated with excess mortality in patients with severe sepsis.


Critically ill patients Enteral nutrition Parenteral nutrition Immunonutrition Severe sepsis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guido Bertolini
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gaetano Iapichino
    • 3
  • Danilo Radrizzani
    • 5
  • Rebecca Facchini
    • 1
  • Bruno Simini
  • Paola Bruzzone
    • 4
  • Giancarlo Zanforlin
    • 3
  • Gianni Tognoni
    • 2
  1. 1.GiViTI Coordinating Center, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche "Mario Negri"Centro di Ricerche Cliniche per le Malattie Rare Aldo e Cele DaccòRanica, BergamoItaly
  2. 2.Consorzio "Mario Negri Sud"ChietiItaly
  3. 3.Polo Universitario S. PaoloIstituto di Anestesia e Rianimazione dell'Università di MilanoMilanItaly
  4. 4.Ospedale Maggiore IRCCS, Polo Universitario S. PaoloIstituto di Anestesia e Rianimazione dell'Università di MilanoMilanItaly
  5. 5.Servizio Anestesia e RianimazioneAzienda Ospedaliera LegnanoMilanItaly

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