The effect of a low carbohydrate formula on glycaemia in critically ill enterally-fed adult patients with hyperglycaemia: A blinded randomised feasibility trial

      Summary

      Background

      Enteral nutrition is a source of carbohydrate that may exacerbate hyperglycaemia. Its treatment, insulin, potentially exacerbates glycaemic variability.

      Methods

      This was a prospective, parallel group, blinded, randomised feasibility trial. Patients were eligible if 18 years or over when admitted to the intensive care unit and receiving enteral nutrition (EN) exclusively with two consecutive blood glucose > 10 mmol/L. A standardized glucose management protocol determined administration of insulin. Key outcome measures were insulin administered and glycaemic variability (coefficient of variation) over the first 48 h.

      Results

      41 patients were randomized to either standard EN (14.1 g/100 mL carbohydrate; n = 20) or intervention EN (7.4 g/100 mL carbohydrate; n = 21). Overall 59% were male, mean (±SD) age of 62.3 years ± 10.4, APACHE II score of 16.5 ± 7.8 and a median (IQR) Body Mass Index 29.0 kg/m2 (25.2–35.5). Most patients (73%) were mechanically ventilated. Approximately half (51%) were identified as having diabetes prior to ICU admission. Patients in the intervention arm received less insulin over the 48 h study period than those in the control group (mean insulin units over study period (95% CI) 45.0 (24.4–68.7) vs. 107 (56.1–157.9) units; p = 0.02) and had lower mean glycaemic variability (12.6 vs. 15.9%, p = 0.01). There was a small difference in the mean percentage of energy requirements met (intervention: 72.9 vs. control: 79.1%; p = 0.4) or protein delivered (78.2 vs. 85.4%; p = 0.3).

      Conclusions

      A low carbohydrate formula was associated with reduced insulin use and glycaemic variability in enterally-fed critically ill patients with hyperglycaemia. Further large trials are required to determine the impact of this formula on clinical outcomes.
      Registered under Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ANZCTR number: 12614000166673.

      Keywords

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