Nutrition in the intensive care unit and early recovery influence functional outcomes for survivors of critical illness: A prospective cohort study

Lindsey E. Jubina, Alleyna Locke, Kelly R. Fedder, Stacey A. Slone, Melissa K. Soper, Anna G. Kalema, Ashley A. Montgomery-Yates, Kirby P. Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Patients who are critically ill may receive suboptimal nutrition that leads to weight loss and increased risk of functional deficits. Methods: Our overarching hypothesis is that nutrition in the intensive care unit (ICU) and the early recovery phase associates with functional outcomes at short-term follow-up. We enrolled adult patients who attended the University of Kentucky ICU recovery clinic (ICU-RC) from November 2021 to June 2022. Patients participated in muscle and functional assessments. Nutrition intake and status during the ICU stay were analyzed. The Subjective Global Assessment and a nutrition questionnaire were used to identify changes in intake, ongoing gastrointestinal symptoms, and patient's access to food at the ICU-RC appointment. Results: Forty-one patients enrolled with a median hospital length of stay (LOS) of 23 days. Patients with 0 days of nil per os (NPO) status throughout hospitalization had a shorter LOS (P = 0.05), were able to complete the five times sit-to-stand test (P = 0.02), and were less likely to experience ICU-acquired weakness (P = 0.04) at short-term follow-up compared with patients with ≥1 day of NPO status. Twenty (48%) patients reported changes in nutrition intake in early recovery compared with before hospitalization. Eight (20%) patients reported symptoms leading to decreased intake and four (10%) reported access to food as a barrier to intake. Conclusion: Barriers to nutrition exist during critical illness and persist after discharge, with almost half of patients reporting a change in intake. Inpatient nutrition intake is associated with functional outcomes and warrants further exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)888-895
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.


  • ICU-acquired weakness
  • calorie deficit
  • critical care nutrition
  • enteral feeding
  • postintensive care syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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