Nutritional survey in critically ill children: a single center study in China


Nutritional survey in critically ill children: a single center study in China


Li J; Li B; Qian J; Zhang J; Ren H; Ning B; Wang Y



Translational Pediatrics




children; enteral nutrition (EN); intensive care unit (ICU); Malnutrition; nutrition therapy (NT); of interest to declare.


BACKGROUND: The incidence of malnutrition in children, who were admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), has kept high level over the past 30 years. In addition, nutrition status of critically ill children deteriorates further during the changing of their conditions and may have a negative effect on patients' outcomes. This study aimed to determine the nutritional status of critically ill children and to survey current nutrition practices and support in PICU. METHODS: In this prospective observational study, 360 critically ill children stayed in the PICU not less than 3 days from Feb. to Nov. in 2017 were enrolled. Each patient underwent nutrition assessment. Nutritional status was determined using Z-scores of length/height-for-age (HAZ), weight-for-age (WAZ), weight-for-height (WHZ), body mass index-for-age (BAZ), based on the World Health Organization child growth standards. We also observed the patients' intake of calories and protein during the first 10 days after admission. RESULTS: Three hundred and sixty were enrolled in the study. One hundred and eighty-six patients (51.67%) were malnourished at PICU admission, above 50% and 56.45% (105/186) of malnourished patients had severe malnutrition. Except fasting in case of clinical instability in 5.3% (19/360), nutrition was provided in the form of oral feeding in 26.6% (96/360), enteral nutrition (EN) in 56.1% (202/360), parenteral nutrition (PN) in 6.4% (23/360) and mixed support (EN + PN) in 5.6% (20/360). Totally 384 times interruption of feeding happened in the process of EN, and 1.9 times feeding interruption happened to each patient. Twenty-seven point two percent of these patients had more than three times feeding interruption. The severe malnutrition group had significantly greater length of ICU stay and higher mechanical ventilation support rate (P=0.007, P=0.029). Total 44 (44/360, 12.22%) patients died in the study, and the malnutrition was not statistically different between survivor group and death group (P=0.379). More than 85% of the patients had lower daily nutritional intake compared with prescribed goals. Sixty-eight point three percent of the patients received the required calories during EN with median time of 2 [2-4] days. Only 32.7% of patients underwent EN received estimated protein requirements. CONCLUSIONS: These results showed that malnutrition was common among children admitted to PICU. Furthermore, nutrition delivery was generally inadequate in critically ill children, and nutritional status was getting worsening during PICU.


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Li J; Li B; Qian J; Zhang J; Ren H; Ning B; Wang Y, “Nutritional survey in critically ill children: a single center study in China,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 22, 2024,