Enteral nutrition in the critically ill: myths and misconceptions

Crit Care Med. 2014 Apr;42(4):962-9. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000000051.


Background: Nutritional support is an essential component of the management of critically ill and injured ICU patients. Optimal provision of calories and protein has been demonstrated to reduce morbidity, mortally, and length of ICU and hospital stay. Yet, a large proportion of ICU patients receive inadequate nutrition.

Objective: To provide an evidence-base assessment of factors leading to inadequate enteral nutrition support in critically ill patients.

Data source: Search of PubMed database and manual review of bibliographies from selected articles.

Data synthesis and conclusions: A number of common myths and misconceptions appear to play a major role in limiting the provision of enteral nutrition in the critically ill. This article provides scientific data to debunk the most common myths and misconceptions related to enteral nutrition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Critical Illness / therapy*
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures
  • Energy Intake
  • Enteral Nutrition / adverse effects
  • Enteral Nutrition / methods*
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Ileus / epidemiology
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Length of Stay
  • Nutritional Status
  • Pancreatitis / epidemiology
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Time Factors
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / administration & dosage


  • Vasoconstrictor Agents