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Metabolic and endocrine changes in acute and chronic critical illness 

Metabolic and endocrine changes in acute and chronic critical illness
Metabolic and endocrine changes in acute and chronic critical illness

Eva Boonen

, and Greet Van den Berghe

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date: 02 March 2021

Critical illness, an extreme form of severe physical stress, is characterized by important endocrine and metabolic changes. The development of critical care medicine has made possible survival from conditions that were previously rapidly fatel, and as a result many patients now enter a prolonged phase of chronic or persistent critical illness. Acute endocrine adaptations are directed towards providing energy and substrates for the vital fight or flight response in the context of exogenous substrate deprivation. Distinct endocrine and metabolic alterations characterize the chronic phase of critical illness, which seems to no longer be solely beneficial and may hamper recovery and rehabilitation. Onset of the stressful event causes an acute activation of pulsatile hormonal release from the anterior pituitary, followed by suppression in the chronic phase of illness, ultimately resolving to normality if recovery occurs.

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