Objective: To compare the effectiveness of active to passive dissemination of the Canadian clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for nutrition support for the mechanically ventilated critically ill adult patient.
Design: A cluster-randomized trial with a cross-sectional outcome assessment at baseline and 12 months later.
Setting: Intensive care units in Canada.
Patients: Consecutive samples of mechanically ventilated patients at each time period.
Interventions: In the active group, we provided multifaceted educational interventions including Web-based tools to dietitians. In the passive group, we mailed the CPGs to dietitians.
Measurements and main results: The primary end point of this study was nutritional adequacy of enteral nutrition; secondary end points measured were compliance with the CPGs, glycemic control, duration of stay in intensive care unit and hospital, and 28-day mortality. Fifty-eight sites were randomized. At baseline and follow-up, 623 and 612 patients were evaluated. Both groups were well matched in site and patient characteristics. Changes in enteral nutrition adequacy between the active and passive arms were similar (8.0% vs. 6.2 %, p = .54). Median time spent in the target glucose range increased 10.1% in the active compared with 1.8% in the passive group (p = .001). In the subgroup of medical patients, enteral nutrition adequacy improved more in the active arm compared with the passive group (by 8.1%, p = .04), whereas no such differences were observed in surgical patients. When groups were combined, during the year of dissemination activities, there was an increase in enteral nutrition adequacy (from 43% to 50%, p < .001), an increase in the use of feeding protocols (from 64% to 76%, p = .03), and a decrease in patients on parenteral nutrition (from 26% to 21%, p = .04). There were no differences in clinical outcomes between groups or across time periods.
Conclusions: Although active dissemination of the CPGs did improve glycemic control, it did not change other nutrition practices or patient outcomes except in a subgroup of medical patients. Overall, dissemination of the CPGs improved other important nutrition support practices but was not associated with improvements in clinical outcomes.