Effects of enteral protein supplements on nutritional status and clinical outcome in unconscious elderly malnourished patients
Unconscious malnourished patients have reduced serum proteins. Enteral protein supplements may improve their nutritional status and clinical outcome. Our aim for the present study was to determine the effect on nutritional status and patient prognosis of enteral protein supplementation in tube-fed hospitalised unconscious elderly malnourished patients.
In total, 20 patients were fed a standard enteral nutrition formula during the four-day adaptation period. The study group (n = 10) received an enteral protein supplement (2 g/kg/day protein) and the control group (n = 10) received only standard enteral nutrition (1 g/kg/day protein) during the 12-day study period. Nutritional status and clinical outcome were assessed.
No difference was observed between the groups with regard to biochemical, inflammatory parameters, anthropometric measurements or nitrogen balance (P > 0.05). Triceps and subscapular skinfold thickness mean levels were elevated in the study group at the end of the study compared with the beginning of the study (P < 0.05). No significant difference was observed between the groups with regard to complications or mortality rate (P > 0.05).
In the present study, the use of enteral protein support (EPS) in unconscious malnourished patients provided some advantages in the early stages of medical treatment. Triceps skinfold thickness and subscapular skinfold thickness mean levels were increased significantly in our study group. Although there was no significant difference, serum insulin-growth factor, retinol-binding protein and prealbumin mean values showed a tendency to increase in the study group at the end of the study. We believe that further research is required to determine the effects of EPS on these values in malnourished elderly patients.