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Nutrition in the Intensive Care Unit—A Narrative Review

Department of Intensive Care and Anesthesiology, University Hospital RWTH Aachen University, D-52074 Aachen, Germany
Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, D-24105 Kiel, Germany
Department of General, Visceral and Oncological Surgery, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Klinikum St. Georg, D-04129 Leipzig, Germany
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ina Bergheim, Roland N. Dickerson and Yasuo Tsutsumi
Nutrients 2021, 13(8), 2851;
Received: 28 June 2021 / Revised: 6 August 2021 / Accepted: 17 August 2021 / Published: 19 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical Nutrition: Recent Advances and Remaining Challenges)
Background: While consent exists, that nutritional status has prognostic impact in the critically ill, the optimal feeding strategy has been a matter of debate. Methods: Narrative review of the recent evidence and international guideline recommendations focusing on basic principles of nutrition in the ICU and the treatment of specific patient groups. Covered topics are: the importance and diagnosis of malnutrition in the ICU, the optimal timing and route of nutrition, energy and protein requirements, the supplementation of specific nutrients, as well as monitoring and complications of a Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT). Furthermore, this review summarizes the available evidence to optimize the MNT of patients grouped by primarily affected organ system. Results: Due to the considerable heterogeneity of the critically ill, MNT should be carefully adapted to the individual patient with special focus on phase of critical illness, metabolic tolerance, leading symptoms, and comorbidities. Conclusion: MNT in the ICU is complex and requiring an interdisciplinary approach and frequent reevaluation. The impact of personalized and disease-specific MNT on patient-centered clinical outcomes remains to be elucidated. View Full-Text
Keywords: medical nutrition therapy; critical care; enteral nutrition; parenteral nutrition; micronutrients; energy; protein; review medical nutrition therapy; critical care; enteral nutrition; parenteral nutrition; micronutrients; energy; protein; review
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hill, A.; Elke, G.; Weimann, A. Nutrition in the Intensive Care Unit—A Narrative Review. Nutrients 2021, 13, 2851.

AMA Style

Hill A, Elke G, Weimann A. Nutrition in the Intensive Care Unit—A Narrative Review. Nutrients. 2021; 13(8):2851.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hill, Aileen, Gunnar Elke, and Arved Weimann. 2021. "Nutrition in the Intensive Care Unit—A Narrative Review" Nutrients 13, no. 8: 2851.

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