Purpose of review: Nutrition impacts outcome in critically ill children. Based on evolving neuro-endocrine, immunologic and metabolic alterations, three different phases can be proposed during the course of illness. The different phases each demand for tailored macronutrient intakes in critically ill children.
Recent findings: Early enteral nutrition is associated with decreased morbidity and mortality, but several misconceptions concerning the provision of enteral nutrition prevent adequate intake. Parenteral nutrition in critically ill children is associated with potential disadvantages, as nosocomial infections, but evidence on the effect on clinical outcome is lacking. Nutrient restriction early during critical illness might be beneficial for short and long-term outcomes by decreasing the incidence of side-effects and possibly by amplifying the acute catabolic stress response and stimulating autophagy and muscle integrity. Higher caloric and protein intake via the enteral route are associated with higher 60-day survival, asking for a more aggressive feeding approach in subsequent phases.
Summary: Understanding the stress response to critical illness and its phases is essential for nutritional recommendations in critically ill children. Although parenteral nutrient restriction during the acute phase might be beneficial, inclining requirements ask for a more aggressive approach during the stable and recovery phase to enable recovery, growth and catch-up growth.

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doi.org/10.1097/MCO.0000000000000268, hdl.handle.net/1765/84550
Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Joosten, K., Kerklaan, D., & Verbruggen, S. (2016). Nutritional support and the role of the stress response in critically ill children. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care (Vol. 19, pp. 226–233). doi:10.1097/MCO.0000000000000268