Delivery of adequate nutrients during illness to counteract the metabolic stress response and facilitate healing and tissue repair is an important goal in the care of critically ill children. With recent advances in technology, accurate minute-to-minute gas exchange and energy expenditure measurements are now available in intensive care units. The bedside availability of these devices may allow a titrated approach to energy delivery for patients, ushering in a new era of individualized nutrition therapy. Basic concepts, available monitoring devices, indications, pitfalls, and bedside application of metabolic monitoring are discussed in this article.
Keywords: energy metabolism; indirect calorimetry; intensive care units; nutrition assessment; nutritional support; pediatrics; pulmonary gas exchange.