Dissemination of the Canadian clinical practice guidelines for nutrition support: results of a cluster randomized controlled trial

Crit Care Med. 2006 Sep;34(9):2362-9. doi: 10.1097/01.CCM.0000234044.91893.9C.


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.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Canada
  • Critical Care / standards*
  • Critical Illness
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietetics / standards
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Support / standards*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Respiration, Artificial*


  • Blood Glucose