OBJECTIVE: To study current strategies in nutritional management of pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) in Europe, focusing on energy requirements.
DESIGN AND SETTING: Survey by a 35-item questionnaire sent to representatives of 242 PICUs in 28 countries. Addresses were obtained from national PICU associations and the members' list of the European Society of Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care.
PARTICIPANTS: Staff members of 111 European PICUs (46%) from 24 countries.
MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: Predominantly physicians were reported to be responsible for nutritional support. In 73% of PICUs a multidisciplinary nutritional team was available. In most PICUs daily energy requirements were estimated using weight, age, predictive equations and correction factors. In 17% of PICUs energy expenditure was regularly measured by indirect calorimetry. Nutritional status was mostly assessed by weight, physical examination, and a wide range of biochemical blood parameters. Approximately 70% of PICUs used dedicated software for nutritional support. A similar percentage of PICUs regarded "nutrition" as a research topic and part of the residents' training program.
CONCLUSIONS: Most European PICUs regard nutritional support as an important aspect of patient care, as shown by the presence of nutritional teams, software, research, and education. However, energy requirements of pediatric intensive care patient were based predominantly on estimations rather than on measurements.