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Boosting energy for tube-fed patients: lingering question answered

Does swapping out current tube-fed formulas with an energy-enriched option lift survival rates among critically ill patients?

This was “one of the most important unanswered questions” in the field of critical care nutrition, Monash University’s Dr Emma Ridley said.

Ridley, and the rest of the TARGET Trial team, said these patients only receive up to 60 per cent of the daily-recommended energy intake.

They looked at 4000 Australian and New Zealand ICU patients to figure out whether swapping out current forumlas for an energy-enriched option would lead to improved 90-day survival.

Ridley said the research revealed that the move did not increase survival at 90 days in critically ill adults.

"This finding is significant as much effort, resource and health care cost needs to be applied to increase energy delivery above routine care during critical illness, impacting the care of hundreds of thousands of critically ill patients world-wide,” Ridley said.

"The study also challenges many previously held opinions about needing to increase energy delivery in critical illness by proving high quality robust evidence."

The researchers also looked at whether increased energy delivery improved functional outcomes for critically ill patients. Those results will be will be published at a later date.

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