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Optimizing Nutritional Needs of Burn Patients: An Evaluation of Nutritional Assessment Tools, Feeding Strategies, and Their Impact on Patient Outcomes.

American Surgeon 2024 June 4
BACKGROUND: Optimal nutritional support is essential to the recovery and improved outcomes of burn patients. This review aims to explore existing literature to evaluate nutrition assessment tools, feeding formulations' caloric predictive ability, timing of initiation of feeding, optimal nutritional composition, and caloric intake in burn patients.

METHODS: Three databases were searched to glean studies investigating nutrition in acute severe adult burn patient populations in four areas: outcomes based on feeding type and timing, the caloric predictability of nutritional assessment tools, outcomes associated with the composition of feeding formulas, and considerations related to caloric intake. Outcomes of interest included the effects of nutritional assessments using feeding type, nutritional administration timing, formula composition, and caloric intake on mortality rate, length of stay, and infection.

RESULTS: A total of 19 studies were included. Nutritional assessment tools were determined to over- or underestimate resting energy expenditure (REE). Milner was the most accurate alternative to indirect calorimetry. Early enteral nutrition in burn patients within 24 hours of admission was preferred. 5 studies evaluated micronutrients and yielded variable results. Low-fat high-carbohydrate diets were the ideal macronutrient composition. Burn patients were shown to receive lower caloric intake than recommended.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings showed that while nutritional assessment tools tend to inaccurately estimate REE in burn patients, the ideal alternative to indirect calorimetry is the Milner equation. Several new equations may be worthy alternatives but require further validation. Enteral feeding should be initiated within the first 24 hours of burn injury whenever possible and should contain a high-carbohydrate/low-fat composition.

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