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Table 2 Tolerance of enteral nutrition, morbidity and mortality in the semi-elemental and polymeric groups

From: Semi-elemental versus polymeric formula for enteral nutrition in brain-injured critically ill patients: a randomized trial

Variable Semi-elemental group
n = 100 patients
Polymeric group
n = 95 patients
p value
Gastrointestinal tolerance of enteral nutrition
 Gastroparesis 18 (18) 11 (12) 0.21
  Requiring interruption of enteral nutrition 6 (6) 5 (5) 1.00
 Diarrhea 16 (16) 8 (8) 0.11
  Requiring addition of salineb 10 (10) 1 (1) 0.01
  Requiring loperamideb 4 (4) 0 (0) 0.05
 Alteration of blood levels of liver enzymesc    
  Alteration of transaminases 13 (13) 10 (11) 0.66
  Abnormal gamma-glutamyl transferase 23 (23) 16 (17) 0.37
Morbidity within 28 days after inclusion
 Length of mechanical ventilation (days)a 10 [6–16] 11 [6–17] 0.52
 Length of stay in the ICU (days)a 14 [8–21] 15 [10–23] 0.18
 Pneumoniad 47 (47) 41 (43) 0.59
Mortality at 28 days 20 (20) 21 (22) 0.71
Mortality at 60 days 23 (23) 23 (24) 0.81
  1. Data are number of patients (percentage)
  2. ICU intensive care unit; gastroparesis was defined as a gastric residual volume > 500 ml, and diarrhea as more than 3 unusually loose or watery stools per day for 2 consecutive days
  3. aData are median [interquartile range]
  4. bAccording to the enteral nutrition protocol, in case of diarrhea, the treatments were: First, 500 ml of normal saline was added to the enteral nutrition solution for the next 24 h; if the symptoms persisted, the pump rate was decreased by 21 ml/h for the next 24 h and then loperamide 4 mg twice per day was started until disappearance of diarrhea
  5. cAlteration of transaminases was defined as abnormal value of aspartate aminotransferase (AST > 34 IU/l) or alanine aminotransferase (ALT > 65 IU/l). Abnormal gamma-glutamyl transferase was defined as abnormal value of gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT > 64 IU/l)
  6. dPneumonia was defined by the presence of: fever > 38.3 °C without any other cause, purulent sputum or tracheal aspiration, declining oxygenation or increased oxygen-requirement, and new or progressive lung infiltrates on chest radiographs [19]