Massachusetts General Hospital’s D. Dante Yeh Wins Award for Clinical Nutrition Research

February 18, 2015, Silver Spring, MD -- D. Dante Yeh, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital has been named the Promising Investigator Award recipient by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.). The award is for his research on improving nutritional delivery to intensive care unit (ICU) patients, which was presented at A.S.P.E.N.'s Clinical Nutrition Week conference in Long Beach, California, February 14 to 17.

“Dr. Yeh has already contributed greatly to the field of clinical nutrition, and A.S.P.E.N. looks forward to sharing more of his research in the future,” said Debra Ben Avram, CEO of A.S.P.E.N.

Nutrition is a fundamental component in the care of critically ill patients. Adequate nutrition is known to influence wound healing, protein catabolism, risk of infection, length of stay, and mortality in the intensive care unit (ICU). Despite its importance, nutritional delivery is generally poor, with between 50 and 66 percent of prescribed calories/protein actually being delivered in clinical practice.

Previous reports have shown that increasing macronutrient deficit in the surgical ICU is associated with worse in-hospital outcomes. Dr. Yeh and his colleagues hypothesized that increased caloric and protein deficit may also be associated with more intermediate outcomes, such as likelihood of being discharged to home versus transfer to a rehabilitation or skilled nursing facility. To test the association of macronutrient deficit with discharge disposition (home versus rehabilitation or skilled nursing facility), a logistic regression analysis of 213 individuals was performed to control for plausible confounders.

The study found inadequate macronutrient delivery was associated with lower rates of discharge to home. As such, it was concluded that improved nutritional delivery may lead to more favorable intermediate outcomes after critical illness, and underscores the need for well-designed, randomized, controlled trials to determine whether nutritional therapy affects the rate of home discharge in ICU patients.

Dr. Yeh’s research earned him the honor of being one of only five candidates for A.S.P.E.N.’s 2015 Harry M. Vars Award. The Promising Investigator Award is given to the runner-up for the Vars Award. A copy of his research abstract is available here: http://pen.sagepub.com/content/39/2/231?etoc.

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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 and metabolism. 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 6,000 members from around the world, A.S.P.E.N. is a community of dietitians, nurses, nurse practitioners, 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 www.nutritioncare.org.