Utilization of Intensive Care Unit Nutrition Consultation Is Associated With Reduced Mortality

JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2020 Feb;44(2):213-219. doi: 10.1002/jpen.1534. Epub 2019 Mar 22.


Background: The aim of this project was to investigate the prevalence of nutrition consultation (NC) in U.S. intensive care units (ICUs) and to examine its association with patient outcomes.

Methods: Data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's state inpatient databases was utilized from 2010 - 2014. A multilevel logistic regression model was used to evaluate the relationship between NC and clinical outcomes.

Results: Institutional ICU NC rates varied significantly (mean: 14%, range: 0.1%-73%). Significant variation among underlying disease processes was identified, with burn patients having the highest consult rate (P < 0.001, mean: 6%, range: 2%-25%). ICU patients who received NC had significantly lower in-hospital mortality (odds ratio [OR] 0.59, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.48-0.74, P < 0.001), as did the subset with malnutrition (OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.53-0.99, P = 0.047) and the subset with concomitant physical therapy consultation (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.38-0.74, P < 0.001). NC was associated with significantly lower rates of intubation, pulmonary failure, pneumonia, and gastrointestinal bleeding (P < 0.05). Furthermore, patients who received NC were more likely to receive enteral or parenteral nutrition (ENPN) (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.4-2.3, P < 0.001). Patients who received follow-up NC were even more likely to receive ENPN (OR 3.0, 95% CI 2.1-4.2, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Rates of NC were low in critically ill patients. This study suggests that increased utilization of NC in critically ill patients may be associated with improved clinical outcomes.

Keywords: critical care; enteral nutrition; nutrition consultation; parenteral nutrition.

MeSH terms

  • Critical Illness / therapy
  • Enteral Nutrition*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Length of Stay
  • Parenteral Nutrition*
  • Referral and Consultation*