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Volume 3 Supplement 1


Are energy and protein targets being met in the ICU?


Multiple barriers exist to achieving energy and protein targets in the critically ill. Elke et al [1] used data from ICU's worldwide which estimated average energy delivery of only 1057 kcals/day and protein delivery 49 g/d (0.7 g/kg/d). Weijs et al [2] demonstrated that meeting energy and protein requirements is associated with decreased mortality. Local data from 2012 found an average delivery of 1424 kCal and 56.8 g protein/d (0.75 g/kg/d) once at target rate (TR) and that 40% of patients were taking > 5 days to reach TR. As a result alterations were made to the ICU feeding protocol; 1.GRV threshold increased to 300 ml, 2. Daily monitoring of energy and protein provision, 3.Introduction of protein modules.


To assess energy and protein delivery for enterally fed patients in a 16 bed ICU following implementation of modifications to protocol, and comparison with historical controls.


A retrospective, case control study over 2 weeks in the ICU. Energy and protein intakes recorded from admission up until day 20; or until discharge from critical care, removal of the enteral feeding tube or death.


20 patients, 11 male + 9 female, aged 23-84 yrs. Mean weight 80 kg + BMI 27.8 kg/m2 (19-41 kg/m2). 79% of patients had EN initiated within 48 hrs and 95% within 72 hrs. Mean time to TR was 4 days. 19% of patients took >5 days to reach TR. Mean daily energy delivery 1428 kCal + 93% energy requirements met. Mean daily protein delivery 64.7 g (0.86 g/kg/d) + 71%of protein requirements met.


Increasing GRV threshold improved the number of patients reaching TR in 5 days by 50%... Energy delivery was similar to 2012 but higher than those reported by Elke et al [1]. However % of energy requirements met once at TR increased by 4% from 2012. Protein delivery increased by 8 g protein /d (13%) and was 15.7 g (22%) higher than stated by Elke et al. The use of protein modules and daily monitoring improves energy and protein delivery. However, protein is still falling short of the recommended 1.5 g/kg/day [3] due to non-feed sources of energy and high requirements in the obese; ≥ 2-2.5 g/kg IBW (ASPEN, 2009).


  1. 1.

    Elke G, Wang M, Weiler N, Day AG, Heyland DK: Close to recommended caloric and protein intake by enteral nutrition is associated with better clinical outcome of critically ill septic patients: secondary analysis of a large international nutrition database. Crit Care. 2014, 18: 1-R29.

  2. 2.

    Weijs PJ, Stapel SN, de Groot SD, Driessen RH, de Jong E, Girbes AR, et al: Optimal Protein and Energy Nutrition Decreases Mortality in Mechanically Ventilated, Critically Ill Patients A Prospective Observational Cohort Study. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2012, 36 (1): 60-68. 10.1177/0148607111415109.

  3. 3.

    Singer P, Hiesmayr M, Biolo G, Felbinger TW, Berger MM, Goeters C, et al: Pragmatic approach to nutrition in the ICU: Expert opinion regarding which calorie protein target. Clin Nutr. 2014, 33 (2): 246-251. 10.1016/j.clnu.2013.12.004.

  4. 4.

    Martindale RG, McClave SA, Vanek VW, McCarthy M, Roberts P, Taylor B, et al: Guidelines for the provision and assessment of nutrition in nutrition support therapy in the adult critically ill patient: Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) and American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.). JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2009, 33 (3): 277-316. 10.1177/0148607109335234.

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Correspondence to R Booth.

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  • Energy Requirement
  • Protein Intake
  • Feeding Tube
  • Enteral Feeding
  • Average Energy