Weight improvement with the use of protein and energy enriched nutritional formula in infants with a prolonged PICU stay
Background: Reaching an optimal nutritional intake is challenging in critically ill infants. One possible way to minimise nutritional deficits is the use of protein and energy-enriched (PE)-formulas. We aimed to describe weight achievement and gastrointestinal symptoms in infants admitted to the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) while receiving PE-formula for a prolonged period. Methods: Records from infants admitted to a multidisciplinary PICU and using PE-formula were analysed retrospectively. Infants were eligible if they received PE-formula daily for at least 2 weeks. Weight achievement was determined as the difference between weight-for-age (WFA) Z-scores at the start and end of PE-formula use. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including gastric residual volume, constipation and vomiting, were evaluated as tolerance parameters. Results: Seventy infants with a median [interquartile range (IQR)] age of 76 (30–182) days were eligible. The PICU duration was 50 (35–83) days during which they received PE-formula for 30 (21–54) days. Predominant admission diagnoses were post-cardiac surgery, respiratory and cardiac diagnosis. A significant mean (SD) WFA Z-score increase of 0.48 (1.10) (P < 0.001) and a median (IQR) weight gain of 5.80 (3.28–9.04) g kg−1 day−1 was observed. Multivariate regression showed that a lower WFA Z-score at start was associated with a higher WFA Z-score increase during PE-formula use (β −0.35 (95% confidence interval = −0.50 to −0.19); P < 0.001). The maximum 24-h gastric residual volume was 8.1 mL (IQR = 2.2–14.3) for each 1 kg in bodyweight. Three (4%) infants were treated for diarrhoea and three infants were treated for vomiting. Conclusions: The majority of infants with a prolonged PICU stay showed weight improvement when using PE-formula. PE-formula was well tolerated because gastrointestinal symptoms only occurred in few infants.