Preserving the quality of life: Nutrition in the icu

Pierre Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Critically ill patients require adequate nutritional support to meet energy requirements both during and after intensive care unit (ICU) stay to protect against severe catabolism and prevent significant deconditioning. ICU patients often suffer from chronic critical illness causing an increase in energy expenditure, leading to proteolysis and related muscle loss. Careful supplementation and modulation of caloric and protein intake can avoid under- or overfeeding, both associated with poorer outcomes. Indirect calorimetry is the preferred method for assessing resting energy expenditure and the appropriate caloric and protein intake to counter energy and muscle loss. Physical exercise may have favorable effects on muscle preservation and should be considered even early in the hospital course of a critically ill patient. After liberation from the ventilator or during non-invasive ventilation, oral intake should be carefully evaluated and, in case of severe dysphagia, should be avoided and replaced by enteral of parenteral nutrition. Upon transfer from the ICU to the ward, adequate nutrition remains essential for long-term rehabilitation success and continued emphasis on sufficient nutritional supplementation in the ward is necessary to avoid a suboptimal nutritional state.

Original languageEnglish
Article number139
JournalCritical Care
StatePublished - 14 Jun 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Preserving the quality of life: Nutrition in the icu'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this