General Medical News – Children in Intensive Care Recover Faster with Little to no Nutrition

June 8, 2016

A new study has shown that critically ill children who are in intensive care do not need to be artificially fed to aid recovery. This news comes after similar research that was carried out in 2011 and 2014 by Professor Van den Berghe and her team, claimed early artificial feeding of adults in intensive care should not happen either.

Universally, medical staff have always been of the opinion that shortly after a child (or adult) arrives in intensive care they should be fed through an IV tube which goes into the blood stream. As well as for the purpose of strengthening muscles, it was also thought it would help prevent complications and in general speed up recovery, returning patients to main wards and home, as soon as possible.

However, these new findings completely contravene what typically happens. The research team made up of professors from the University Hospital Leuven in Belgium, Sophia Children’s Hospital Rotterdam, in the Netherlands and Stollery Children’s Hospital Edmonton in Canada, focused their study purely on children.

The trial consisted of 1,440 critically ill children and the effects of having little or no food during the first week of critical care. Very interestingly it was discovered that those children who had built up a nutritional deficiency after having limited or no food, had fewer infections, less organ failure and a much quicker recovery, compared to those children who received the more ‘traditional’ treatment.

The results were also the same regardless of the type of disease, the age of the child or which hospital they were in.

These conclusions represent strong evidence to suggest that treatment for children should be changed accordingly and it is anticipated that hospitals worldwide will implement these findings for all children in intensive care. With further study on the implications for adults, it could well be that similar changes are made here too.

Original article: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1514762

Posted in Uncategorised by Douglas Fahlbusch