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Standardized nutritional supply versus individual nutritional assessment: Impact on weight changes, complications and functional outcome from neurological early rehabilitation

Schmidt, S.B., Boltzmann, M., Krauss, J.K., Stangel, M., Gutenbrunner, C., Rollnik, J.D.
Clinical nutrition 2019
diarrhea, diuresis, enteral feeding, functional status, nutrition assessment, patients, weight loss
Approximately 55% of neurological and neurosurgical early rehabilitation (NNER) patients are in need of enteral nutrition, but long-term nutritional assessment of these critically ill patients is suboptimal. Therefore, this study analyzed the effect of an individual nutritional assessment on weight changes during rehabilitation and impact on complications and functional outcome.170 NNER patients on enteral nutrition were enrolled in the study. According to the initial ward, patients were assigned to receive standardized enteral nutrition (n = 107, control group) or an individual nutritional assessment (n = 63, intervention group). Weight changes, complications, assessment of the functional outcome (Early Rehabilitation Index, Barthel Index, Early Rehabilitation Barthel Index) and the length of stay were recorded and compared between groups using non-parametric tests for non-paired samples (Mann-Whitney U test for metric data or the χ2 test for categorical data) or paired samples (Wilcoxon test). In addition, daily energy requirement was calculated and compared with daily intake. Correlation analysis by Spearman was performed to investigate linear relationship between weight changes and the difference of administered and calculated calories in both study groups.A weight loss was observed in the control group, whereas the weight of the intervention group remained stable over time. The difference between calculated and administered calories correlated with weight changes in the control group. Regarding complications during rehabilitation, control patients showed more frequently impaired diuresis. In addition, control patients were suffering longer from diarrhea than patients of the intervention group. Both groups improved in functional status to a comparable degree. Relationships between these improvements and weight changes or administered calories could not be found.Individual nutritional assessment had not an additional affect for the improvement of functional outcome or the prevention of complications. However, weight turned out to be more stable and signs of nutritional incompatibilities are less frequent among patients being treated with an individualized nutritional assessment.