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Juan B. Ochoa

and Jodie Bryk

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date: 10 April 2020

Critical illness profoundly disrupts the ability to maintain volitional oral intakewhich, without intervention, can lead to prolonged starvation, the progressiontowards malnutrition, and the development of malnutrition-related organ dysfunctionand complications. In addition, lack of oral intake in another humanbeing elicits emotional responses by both well-intentioned family and healthcareproviders prompting the unnecessary provision of inappropriate nutrition interventionduring illness. Far from being supportive, however, prescription of inappropriatelyindicated forms of nutrition intervention in the critically ill patient can result in significant side effects and may worsen outcomes. Nutrition intervention is not intuitive andrequires a careful understanding of metabolism during health and disease, as wellas knowledge of the different forms of nutrition intervention. This chapter aimsto provide a basic understanding of nutrition intervention in the critically ill whileproviding guidelines that can help physicians in their day-to-day practices.

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