Energy balance in stable malnourished patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chest. 1993 Apr;103(4):1038-44. doi: 10.1378/chest.103.4.1038.


We have measured caloric intake, energy expenditure, and the thermogenic effect of food in ten patients with stable COPD who had a history of involuntary weight loss over several years and were malnourished (< 85 percent ideal body weight). Each patient completed a 7-day food record. Indirect calorimetry was performed in the resting postabsorptive state. After placement of a nasoenteric tube, patients were randomly assigned to be refed or sham-fed (mean +/- SD, 16 +/- 3 days), following which, metabolic measurements were repeated. Indirect calorimetry was also performed before and after a large meal in each patient. Home caloric intake was 135 +/- 23 percent of resting energy expenditure. Resting energy expenditure was 94 +/- 16 percent of that predicted by the Harris-Benedict equation and did not change significantly during inpatient refeeding. Refeeding resulted in weight gain (2.4 +/- 1.9 kg, p < 0.02). A large meal caused substantial increases in energy expenditure (24 +/- 18 percent), carbon dioxide production (39 +/- 18 percent), and oxygen consumption (23 +/- 16 percent). We conclude that stable malnourished COPD patients consume adequate calories to meet average energy requirements and are not hypermetabolic. Inpatient refeeding by nocturnal nasoenteric infusion is well tolerated and results in weight gain, but the thermogenic effect of a large meal poses a considerable metabolic and ventilatory load that could precipitate acute respiratory failure.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Temperature Regulation
  • Calorimetry, Indirect
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Enteral Nutrition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / complications*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Disorders / complications
  • Nutrition Disorders / metabolism*