Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 39, Issue 7, pp 1221–1226 | Cite as

Periprocedural cessation of nutrition in the intensive care unit: opportunities for improvement

  • Roeland H. A. PassierEmail author
  • Andrew R. Davies
  • Emma Ridley
  • Jason McClure
  • Deirdre Murphy
  • Carlos D. Scheinkestel



Delivery of enteral nutrition (EN) to ICU patients is commonly interrupted for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. We investigated this practice in a cohort of trauma and surgical ICU patients.


This was a retrospective single-center study conducted in a 15-bed trauma ICU of a university-affiliated teaching hospital. Descriptive statistics were used.


Of 69 patients assessed, 41 had 121 planned procedures over a mean ICU length of stay of 18.7 days (SD 9.6 days). EN was stopped prior to 108 (89 %, 95 % CI 82–94 %) of these 121 procedures, and 102 of these cessation episodes were related to the planned procedure. EN was stopped in 37 patients for a mean cumulative duration of 30.8 h (SD 22.7 h) per patient, which represented 7.9 % (SD 6.9 %) of the mean total time spent in the ICU leading to a mean energy and protein deficit of 7.2 % (SD 8.5 %) and 7.7 % (SD 9.6 %), respectively. Of the 121 planned procedures, 27 (22 %, 95 % CI 16–31 %) were postponed beyond the scheduled day. For 32 (31 %, 95 % CI 23–41 %) of the 102 EN cessation episodes, EN was stopped without a documented order and 23 (23 %, 95 % CI 16–32 %) episodes were not deemed necessary based on the institution’s guidelines.


In this ICU cohort, EN cessation for planned procedures was frequent and led to a nutritional deficit due to long periods without EN being delivered. Postponement of procedures and clinically unnecessary EN cessation were important factors that prevented delivery of planned nutrition. EN cessation practice should be a focus for improving EN delivery in ICU patients.


Nutrition Enteral nutrition Intensive care unit Critical illness Critically ill Clinical study 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg and ESICM 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roeland H. A. Passier
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Andrew R. Davies
    • 1
    • 2
  • Emma Ridley
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jason McClure
    • 1
    • 2
  • Deirdre Murphy
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carlos D. Scheinkestel
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Intensive Care UnitAlfred HospitalMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology and Preventive MedicineMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Department of NutritionAlfred HospitalMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research CentreMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  5. 5.Alfred HospitalMelbourneAustralia

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