Systematic review of factors associated with energy expenditure in the critically ill

Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2019 Oct;33:111-124. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2019.06.009. Epub 2019 Jul 11.


Background and aims: Indirect calorimetry is the reference standard for energy expenditure measurement. Predictive formulae that replace it are inaccurate. Our aim was to review the patient and clinical factors associated with energy expenditure in critically ill patients.

Methods: We conducted a systematic review of the literature. Eligible studies were those reporting an evaluation of factors and energy expenditure. Energy expenditure and factor associations with p-values were extracted from each study, and each factor was classified as either significantly, indeterminantly, or not associated with energy expenditure. Regression coefficients were summarized as measures of central tendency and spread. Metanalysis was performed on correlations.

Results: The search strategy yielded 8521 unique articles, 307 underwent full text review, and 103 articles were included. Most studies were in adults. There were 95 factors with 352 evaluations. Minute volume, weight, age, % body surface area burn, sedation, post burn day, and caloric intake were significantly associated with energy expenditure. Heart rate, fraction of inspired oxygen, respiratory rate, respiratory disease diagnosis, positive end expiratory pressure, intensive care unit days, C- reactive protein, and size were not associated with energy expenditure. Multiple factors (n = 37) were identified with an unclear relationship with energy expenditure and require further evaluation.

Conclusions: An important interval step in the development of accurate formulae for energy expenditure estimation is a better understanding of relationships between patient and clinical factors and energy expenditure. The review highlights the limitations of currently available data, and identifies important factors that are not included in current prediction formulae of the critically ill.

Keywords: Adults; Child; Critical illness; Energy expenditure; Energy metabolism; Indirect calorimetry; Metabolism; Neonates; Nutrition; Pediatrics.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Calorimetry, Indirect
  • Critical Illness*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pediatrics