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Review: supplemented enteral nutrition reduces infectious complications and length of hospital stay in patients with critical illness

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QUESTION: Among patients with critical illness, does enteral nutrition supplemented with key nutrients compared with standard enteral nutrition reduce infectious complications, death, and length of hospital stay?

Data sources

Studies published in peer reviewed journals from 1990 to February 1998 were identified by searching Medline, doing handsearches of journals, and reviewing bibliographies of relevant articles.

Study selection

Randomised controlled trials were included if they compared the effects of enteral nutrition supplemented with key nutrients with standard enteral nutrition in patients who were critically ill.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on patient conditions; timing of initiation of feeding; supplemented nutrients, nutritional goals, achieved intake, …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Dr S D Heys, Surgical Nutrition and Metabolism Unit, Department of Surgery, University Medical Buildings, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, AB9 2ZD, UK. Fax +44 (0)1224 840973.