Clinical outcome of immunonutrition in a heterogeneous intensive care population

Intensive Care Med. 2005 Apr;31(4):524-32. doi: 10.1007/s00134-005-2564-x. Epub 2005 Feb 10.


Objective: To study the effect of a high-protein enteral formula enriched with arginine, glutamine, and antioxidants and containing omega3 fatty acids and a mixture of fibers, on the clinical outcome of a heterogeneous intensive care (ICU) population.

Design and setting: A randomized, prospective, double blind, controlled, two-center clinical trial in two intensive care units in The Netherlands.

Patients and participants: A total of 597 adult ICU patients expected to require enteral tube feeding for more than 2 days were randomized to receive immunonutrition or an isocaloric control formula.

Interventions: Patients received either the immunonutrition or the control feed.

Measurements and results: Intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses showed no statistically significant difference in clinical outcome parameters between the two groups. Results of the intention-to-treat analysis in control vs. immunonutrition were: median ICU length of stay in days, 8.0 (IQR 5.0-16.0) vs. 7.0 (4.0-14.0); median hospital length of stay in days, 20.0 (IQR 10.0-34.0) vs. 20.0 (10.0-35.0); median days of ventilation, 6.0 (IQR 3.0-12.0) vs. 6.0 (IQR 3.0-12.0); ICU mortality, 26.8% vs. 28.2%; in-hospital mortality, 36.4% vs. 38.5%; infectious complications, 41.7% vs. 43.0%.

Conclusions: The results of this largest randomized, controlled trial found that in the general ICU population immunonutrition has no beneficial effect on clinical outcome parameters. These results are consistent with the literature that is currently available.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Arginine / therapeutic use
  • Critical Care*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Enteral Nutrition / methods*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Glutamine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Treatment Outcome*


  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Glutamine
  • Arginine