Specialized Nutrition in Critically Ill Patients

Sherry A. Brown, PharmD, BCPS


November 30, 2001

In This Article


As we all know, the catabolic response to stress and injury causes an increase in the release of glucocorticoids, catecholamines, and glucagon, resulting in proteolysis. Increased protein turnover and negative nitrogen balance are characteristic features of many critically ill patients. This leads to the compromised function of various organs and organ systems, namely skeletal muscle. The breakdown of skeletal muscle can lead to respiratory muscle weakness, prolonging mechanical ventilation time and, subsequently, leading to an increase in morbidity and mortality. A number of presentations were given at the American College of Clinical Pharmacy 2001 Annual Meeting investigating the use of various nutritional supplements to counteract these negative effects seen in the critically ill population.


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