ESPEN guideline on clinical nutrition in the intensive care unit

Clin Nutr. 2019 Feb;38(1):48-79. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2018.08.037. Epub 2018 Sep 29.


Following the new ESPEN Standard Operating Procedures, the previous guidelines to provide best medical nutritional therapy to critically ill patients have been updated. These guidelines define who are the patients at risk, how to assess nutritional status of an ICU patient, how to define the amount of energy to provide, the route to choose and how to adapt according to various clinical conditions. When to start and how to progress in the administration of adequate provision of nutrients is also described. The best determination of amount and nature of carbohydrates, fat and protein are suggested. Special attention is given to glutamine and omega-3 fatty acids. Particular conditions frequently observed in intensive care such as patients with dysphagia, frail patients, multiple trauma patients, abdominal surgery, sepsis, and obesity are discussed to guide the practitioner toward the best evidence based therapy. Monitoring of this nutritional therapy is discussed in a separate document.

Keywords: ESPEN; Enteral; Guidelines; Intensive care; Nutrition; Parenteral.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Critical Illness
  • Enteral Nutrition
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Nutritional Support / methods*
  • Parenteral Nutrition
  • Societies, Medical