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Volume 3 Supplement 1


  • Poster presentation
  • Open Access

Energy expenditure (EE) in mechanically ventilated patients: espen equation using different body weights (BW) vs. indirect calorimetry (IC)

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Intensive Care Medicine Experimental20153 (Suppl 1) :A293

  • Published:


  • Body Weight
  • Energy Expenditure
  • Fluid Retention
  • Ideal Body Weight
  • Indirect Calorimetry


IC is the reference method to measure EE, but is not available in every healthcare center. ESPEN guidelines recommend using a predictive equation based on the BW before acute illness in case of fluid retention, but the accuracy of this BW is questionable.


The aim of this study is to ascertain the accuracy of the ESPEN equation using different BW vs. EE measured by IC, in ventilated patients and to determine the most suitable BW.


All mechanically ventilated patients staying >72h in ICU, with Fi02 < 60%, PEEP < 9cmH2O, no pulmonary fistula or lung multi-resistant bacteria were included and had IC measurement. We calculated EE with the ESPEN equation (20-25 kcal/kg acute phase and 25-30 kcal/kg post-acute phase), using several BW: anamnestic (BWAN), measured (BWMES), adjusted for water balance (BWADJ) and ideal BW calculated for a body mass index of 22.5 and 25 kg/m2. Results are presented as mean ± SD. Calculated EE was compared to EE measured by IC, with ANOVA repeated measure and Bonferroni post-hoc test, as well as Bland-Altman analysis.


We included 85 patients (57 ± 19 y, 61 men, SAPS II 50 ± 14), including 47 in acute phase. EE calculated with BWAN, BWADJ and BWMES significantly overestimated measured EE by IC (1910 ± 458 kcal/d; p < 0.0001). Differences of calculated EE were statistically significant between the various BW used (p < 0.0001).
Table 1

Differences of EE according to various BW.

ESPEN equation

Mean Δ (calculated- measured EE)( ± 2SD)*p < 0.05 Bonferroni post hoc test


271 (-1273 ; 731)*


265 (-1339 ; 809)*


368 (-1478 ; 742)*


-15 (-811 ; 841)


195 (-1041 ; 651)


It is crucial to define the best BW to be used because it impacts calculated EE. The ideal BW calculated for a BMI at 22.5 kg/m2 matches better with measured EE than other BW. ESPEN equation is not accurate enough to be used in a metabolically heterogeneous ICU population. It tends to overestimate the EE increasing the risk of overnutrition and potential negative impact on clinical outcome.

Authors’ Affiliations

Adult Intensive Care, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland
Nutrition Unit, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland
Hopitaux Universitaires de Geneve, Geneve, 14, Switzerland


© Heidegger et al.; 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.