Nutritional support for head-injured patients.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002CD
Head injury increases the body's metabolic responses, and therefore nutritional demands. Provision of an adequate supply of nutrients is associated with improved outcome. The best route for administering nutrition (parenterally (TPN) or enterally (EN)), and the best timing of administration (e.g early versus late) of nutrients needs to be established.
To quantify the effect on mortality and morbidity of alternative strategies of providing nutritional support following head injury.
Trials were identified by computerised searches of the Injuries Group specialised register, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, MEDLINE, EMBASE and BIDS Index to Scientific and Technical Proceedings, and by checking the reference lists of trials and review articles.
Randomised controlled trials of timing or route of nutritional support following acute traumatic brain injury.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Two reviewers independently abstracted data and assessed trial quality. Information was collected on death, disability, and incidence of infection. If trial quality was unclear, or if there were missing outcome data, trialists were contacted in an attempt to get further information.
The timing of support: early versus delayed Of the seven trials addressing the timing of support, data on mortality were obtained for all seven trials (284 participants). The relative risk (RR) for death with early nutritional support was 0.67 (95% CI 0.41 to 1.07). Data on disability were available for three trials. The RR for death or disability at the end of follow-up was 0.75 (0.50 to 1.11). The route of feeding: parenteral versus enteral Seven trials compared parenteral versus enteral nutrition. Because early support often involves parenteral nutrition, three of the trials are also included in the previous analyses. Five trials (207 participants) reported mortality. The RR for mortality at the end of follow-up period was 0.66 (0.41 to 1.07). Two trials provided data on death and disability. The RR was 0.69 (95%Cl 0.40 to 1.19). 3. Enteral nutrition: jejunal versus gastric. There was one trial with no deaths and the RR is not estimable.
This review suggests that early feeding may be associated with a trend towards better outcomes in terms of survival and disability. Further trials are required. These trials should report not only nutritional outcomes but also the effect on death and disability.