Enteral Nutrition in Patients Receiving Mechanical Ventilation in a Prone Position

JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2016 Feb;40(2):250-5. doi: 10.1177/0148607114553232. Epub 2014 Oct 1.


Background: Patients treated with mechanical ventilation in the prone position (PP) could have an increased risk for feeding intolerance. However, the available evidence supporting this hypothesis is limited and contradictory.

Objective: To examine the feasibility and efficacy of enteral nutrition (EN) support and its associated complications in patients receiving mechanical ventilation in PP.

Methods: Prospective observational study including 34 mechanically ventilated intensive care patients who were turned to the prone position over a 3-year period. End points related to efficacy and safety of EN support were studied.

Results: In total, more than 1200 patients were admitted to the intensive care unit over a period of 3 years. Of these, 34 received mechanical ventilation in PP. The mean days under EN were 24.7 ± 12.3. Mean days under EN in the supine position were significantly higher than in PP (21.1 vs 3.6; P < .001), but there were no significant differences in gastric residual volume adjusted per day of EN (126.6 vs 189.2; P = .054) as well as diet volume ratio (94.1% vs 92.8%; P = .21). No significant differences in high gastric residual events per day of EN (0.06 vs 0.09; P = .39), vomiting per day of EN (0.016 vs 0.03; P = .53), or diet regurgitation per day of EN (0 vs 0.04; P = .051) were found.

Conclusions: EN in critically ill patients with severe hypoxemia receiving mechanical ventilation in PP is feasible, safe, and not associated with an increased risk of gastrointestinal complications. Larger studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Keywords: critical care; enteral nutrition; hypoxemia; mechanical ventilation; prone position; respiratory failure.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Critical Illness / therapy
  • Endpoint Determination
  • Enteral Nutrition*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / therapy
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prone Position*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial*
  • Vomiting