The Effect of Nutritional Supplementation on Survival in Seriously Ill Hospitalized Adults

An Evaluation of the SUPPORT Data

Published in: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, v. 48, no. 5, suppl., May 2000, p. S33-S38

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2000

by Marie L. Borum, Joanne Lynn, Zhenshao Zhong, Katalin Eve Roth, Alfred F. Connors, Jr., Norman A. Desbiens, Russell S. Phillips, Neal V. Dawson

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Background: Enteral tube and parenteral hyperalimentation are widely used nutritional support systems. Few studies examine the relation between nutritional support and patient outcomes in seriously ill hospitalized adults. Objective: To explore the association between nutritional support and survival in seriously ill patients enrolled in the Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Out comes and Risks of Treatments (SUPPORT). Design: A prospective study of preferences, decision making, and outcomes. Setting: Five teaching hospitals Participants: 6298 patients aged 18 or older meeting diagnostic and illness severity criteria. Measurement: Demographic characteristics, diagnoses, comorbid conditions, acute physiology score, nutritional support, and functional status before hospitalization. Results: A total of 2149 patients received nutritional support. In patients who received artificial nutrition on hospital days 1 or 3 (Cohort 1), enteral feeding was associated with improved survival in coma (hazard: 0.53; 95%CI, 0.42- 0.66), and reduced survival in COPD (hazard: 1.57; 95%CI, 1.18-2.08). In patients who were hospitalized on Day 7 and received artificial nutrition on days 1, 3, or 7 (Cohort 2), enteral tube feeding (hazard: 0.35; 95%CI, 0.27- 0.46) or hyperalimentation (hazard: 0.58; 95%CI, 0.38-0.90) was associated with improved survival in coma. Tube feeding was associated with decreased survival in acute respiratory failure (ARF) or multiorgan system failure (MOSF) with sepsis (hazard: 1.21; 95%CI, 10.4-1.41), cirrhosis (hazard: 2.15; 95%CI, 1.35-3.42), and COPD (hazard: 1.37; 95%CI, 1.04- 1.80). Hyperalimentation was associated with decreased survival in ARF or MOSF with sepsis (hazard: 1.34; 95%CI, 1.12-1.59). Conclusions: Nutritional support was associated with improved survival in coma. Enteral feeding and hyperalimentation was associated with decreased survival in ARF or MOSF with sepsis. Tube feeding was associated with decreased survival in cirrhosis and COPD. Except for patients in coma, artificial nutrition was not associated with a survival advantage.

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