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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Anesthesiology, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care
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Minerva Anestesiologica 2006 June;72(6):533-41


language: English

Metabolic treatment of critically ill patients: energy balance and substrate disposal

Iapichino G. 1, Radrizzani D. 2, Armani S. 1, Noto A. 1, Spanu P. 1, Mistraletti G. 1

1 Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care San Paolo Hospital University of Milan, Milan, Italy 2 Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit Civil Hospital, Legnano, Milan, Italy


Oxidation of substrates is the main biochemical process used by the human body to produce energy. Different substrates (carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins) have different effects on oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production: during the critical phase of pathologies it could be relevant pay attention to the use of various nutrients, that have some altered effect respect to the normal subjects metabolism, and during the length of metabolic treatment, too. Generally, nutrition lead to replenish body stores, while endogenous substrates are used to be oxidized. Critically ill patients show a preference for prompt energy availability (i.e. glucose) to avoid endogenous protein catabolism; lipids are shown to have a more pronounced storage effect. Adequate amount of energy intake in carbohydrates determine an increase of RQ, that means a shift from a more lipid-based to a more glucose-based oxidation. Composition of dietary intake can be usefully different for each pathology, and also for different periods of the same pathology, because critically ill patients have a variety of metabolic needs during their stay in ICU.

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