Energy expenditure and protein requirements after traumatic injury

Nutr Clin Pract. 2006 Oct;21(5):430-7. doi: 10.1177/0115426506021005430.


Traumatic injury induces hypermetabolism. The degree of hypermetabolism can be variable, depending on the type of injury, the degree of inflammation, body composition, age, and treatment regimens. To estimate metabolic rate in some types of injury, predictive equations have been published. Some of these equations have been tested in validation studies. For other types of injury, equations do not exist. Some expert panels have recommended measuring in lieu of estimating metabolic rate, though studies have not been performed to determine whether clinical outcome is affected by the method used to determine energy requirements. Traumatically injured patients are usually catabolic, but protein needs after traumatic injury continue to be debated. Some suggest that 1.5 g protein per kg body weight is adequate and that any additional protein is simply oxidized, adding to the nitrogen load to be excreted. Alternately, protein intake >2.0 g/kg body weight increases the absolute rate of body protein synthesis, and achievement of nitrogen balance has been associated with survival. Thus, provision of high-protein feeding to achieve nitrogen balance might be worthwhile, even if that balance is achieved at the cost of additional nitrogen production.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Composition
  • Brain Injuries / metabolism
  • Burns / metabolism
  • Critical Illness
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / metabolism
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Wounds and Injuries / metabolism*


  • Dietary Proteins