Background & aims: A wide variation in 24h energy expenditure has been demonstrated previously in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. The accuracy of equations used to predict energy expenditure in critically ill patients is frequently compared with single or short-duration indirect calorimetry measurements, which may not represent the total energy expenditure (TEE) of these patients. To take into account this variability in energy expenditure, estimates have been compared with continuous indirect calorimetry measurements.
Methods: Continuous (24h/day for 5 days) indirect calorimetry measurements were made in patients requiring mechanical ventilation for 5 days. The Harris-Benedict, Schofield and Ireton-Jones equations and the American College of Chest Physicians recommendation of 25 kcal/kg/day were used to estimate energy requirements.
Results: A total of 192 days of measurements, in 27 patients, were available for comparison with the different equations. Agreement between the equations and measured values was poor. The Harris-Benedict, Schofield and ACCP equations provided more estimates (66%, 66% and 65%, respectively) within 80% and 110% of TEE values. However, each of these equations would have resulted in clinically significant underfeeding (<80% of TEE) in 16%, 15% and 22% of patients, respectively, and overfeeding (>110% of TEE) in 18%, 19% and 13% of patients, respectively.
Conclusions: Limits of agreement between the different equations and TEE values were unacceptably wide. Prediction equations may result in significant under or overfeeding in the clinical setting.