Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 524–532 | Cite as

Clinical outcome of immunonutrition in a heterogeneous intensive care population

  • Hans Kieft
  • Arnout N. Roos
  • Jenneke D. E. van Drunen
  • Alexander J. G. H. Bindels
  • Jacques G. Bindels
  • Zandrie Hofman



To study the effect of a high-protein enteral formula enriched with arginine, glutamine, and antioxidants and containing ω3 fatty acids and a mixture of fibers, on the clinical outcome of a heterogeneous intensive care (ICU) population.

Design and setting

A randomized, prospective, double blind, controlled, two-center clinical trial in two intensive care units in The Netherlands.

Patients and participants

A total of 597 adult ICU patients expected to require enteral tube feeding for more than 2 days were randomized to receive immunonutrition or an isocaloric control formula.


Patients received either the immunonutrition or the control feed.

Measurements and results

Intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses showed no statistically significant difference in clinical outcome parameters between the two groups. Results of the intention-to-treat analysis in control vs. immunonutrition were: median ICU length of stay in days, 8.0 (IQR 5.0–16.0) vs. 7.0 (4.0–14.0); median hospital length of stay in days, 20.0 (IQR 10.0–34.0) vs. 20.0 (10.0–35.0); median days of ventilation, 6.0 (IQR 3.0–12.0) vs. 6.0 (IQR 3.0–12.0); ICU mortality, 26.8% vs. 28.2%; in-hospital mortality, 36.4% vs. 38.5%; infectious complications, 41.7% vs. 43.0%


The results of this largest randomized, controlled trial found that in the general ICU population immunonutrition has no beneficial effect on clinical outcome parameters. These results are consistent with the literature that is currently available.


Immunonutrition Arginine ω3 Fatty acids Intensive care Clinical outcome Clinical trial 



The authors thank Marianne van Hengel, Gerdien Melis, and Annette Coenen and all the ICU dieticians, nurses, and secretaries of both participating hospitals. We also thank Prof. R. Westendorp for his statistical consultation. Nutricia N.V. (The Netherlands) kindly provided the study products.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Kieft
    • 1
  • Arnout N. Roos
    • 2
  • Jenneke D. E. van Drunen
    • 3
  • Alexander J. G. H. Bindels
    • 2
  • Jacques G. Bindels
    • 3
  • Zandrie Hofman
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Intensive Care, Isala Clinics (Location Sophia)Dr. van Heesweg 2ZwolleThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Intensive CareCatharina Hospital EindhovenEindhovenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Numico ResearchWageningenThe Netherlands

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