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Juliet Glassroth

(301) 461-4675



Early Enteral Nutrition, Delivered Effectively,

Favorably Impacts Outcomes in Critically Ill Patients


April 27, 2009, Silver Spring, MD – The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.), in partnership with the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), today released Guidelines for the Provision and Assessment of Nutrition Support Therapy in the Adult Critically Ill Patient, providing recommendations for delivering clinical nutrition to critically ill patients. The guidelines are intended for the treatment of adult patients requiring an intensive care unit (ICU) stay of more than two or three days.


"Traditionally, we’ve seen nutrition support in the critically ill as adjunctive care," explained Dr. Steve McClave, A.S.P.E.N. President Elect. "Nutrition support is now seen as a proactive therapy - helping to reduce disease severity, diminish complications, decrease length of stay in the ICU, and favorably impact patient outcomes. This shift makes guidelines for providing nutrition therapy to critically ill patients extremely timely."


Experts from both A.S.P.E.N. and SCCM worked together to construct the list of guideline recommendations. The rigorous development process included detailed review and analysis of the pertinent, available current literature, other national and international guidelines, and blending of expert opinion, clinical practicality and research studies. Randomized controlled trials were used as the primary source to support guideline statements.


"The significance of appropriate nutrition in care of the hospitalized patient—particularly in the ICU—cannot be overstated," said Dr. Mitchell Levy, SCCM President. "This collaboration between A.S.P.E.N. and SCCM illustrates the importance of multidisciplinary approaches to patient care, the value of the perspectives that all the members of the healthcare team contribute, and the shared responsibility we have for all elements of our patients’ health."


The recommendations include topics such as:

· Initiation, dosing, and monitoring tolerance to enteral nutrition

· Selection of appropriate enteral formulations and use of adjuvant therapies such as probiotics

· When and how to use parenteral (IV) nutrition

· Use of nutrition support therapy with pancreatitis, and pulmonary, hepatic, or renal failure

· Nutrition and end of life situations in the critically ill patient


The metabolic stress of critical illness, coupled with associated clinical complications, can lead to malnutrition. It has been shown that early enteral nutrition may favorably impact patient outcomes. Caregivers involved in providing nutrition therapy to this population - physicians, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, respiratory and physical therapists – will find these guidelines invaluable as they seek to provide the best care for their patients.


The complete critical care guidelines will be published in the May issue of the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition and are available on the A.S.P.E.N. Website. An Executive Summary of the guidelines will be published in the May issue of Critical Care Medicine and is available on the SCCM Website.


The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) is dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy.  Founded in 1976, A.S.P.E.N. is an interdisciplinary organization whose members are involved in the provision of clinical nutrition therapies, including parenteral and enteral nutrition. With more than 5,500 members from around the world, A.S.P.E.N. is a community of dietitians, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, scientists, students and other health professionals from every facet of nutrition support clinical practice, research and education. 

For more information about A.S.P.E.N., please visit


The Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) is the largest multiprofessional medical organization dedicated to ensuring excellence and consistency in the practice of critical care. With 14,000 members in 80 countries, SCCM is the only organization that represents all professional components of the critical care team, which include intensivists, critical care nurses, critical care pharmacists, clinical pharmacologists, respiratory care practitioners and other professionals with an interest in critical care, including physician assistants, social workers and dietitians. The Society is devoted to offering a full range of activities that promote excellence in patient care, education, research, and advocacy.


For more information about SCCM, please visit


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