Should We Aim for Full Enteral Feeding in the First Week of Critical Illness?

Stephen A. McClave, Panna Codner, Jayshil Patel, Ryan T. Hurt, Karen Allen, Robert G. Martindale

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Recent clinical trials have challenged the concept that aggressive full feeding as close to goal requirements as possible is necessary in the first week following admission to the intensive care unit. While the data suggesting that permissive underfeeding is better than full feeds are methodologically flawed, other data do indicate that in certain well-defined patient populations, outcomes may be similar. The most important issues for clinicians in determining optimal nutrition therapy for critically ill patients are to carefully determine nutrition risk and differentiate nutrition from nonnutrition benefits of early enteral feeding. Management decisions in the first week of hospitalization should be made in the context of both short-and long-term outcomes. Patients at highest nutrition risk may require advancement to goal feeds as soon as tolerated to maximize benefit from nutrition therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-431
Number of pages7
JournalNutrition in Clinical Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • critical care
  • critical illness
  • enteral nutrition
  • nutritional support
  • permissive underfeeding
  • trophic feeding
  • tube feeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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