Long-term enteral feeding by tube has become a frequently used procedure in elderly patients. However, only a few studies dealing with the nutritional assessment of such patients are currently available. This study was designed to clarify this issue. Anthropometric and biochemical variables, energy expenditure and dietary intake were investigated in 44 hospitalized bed-ridden patients with and without tube feeding over 65 years of age and 41 age-matched free-eating elders in a nursing home. All patients with tube feeding received enteral nutrition by nasogastric tube. The body weight, body mass index, mid-upper-arm circumference, arm muscle circumference and serum level of albumin were significantly lower in the patients with and without tube feeding, compared with free-eating elders of both genders (p<0.05). Energy intakes of the patients with tube feeding were 1.171±286 kcal/d (about 26 kcal/kg/d), which is comparable to the predicted total energy expenditure (1.2 x basal energy expenditure). Protein intake was 44.9±13.1 g/d (about 1.0 g/kg/d) and the percentage of protein per total energy was 15%. These intakes are generally considered to be optimal for bed-ridden patients receiving tube feeding. However, the incidence of protein-malnutrition, as evidenced by decreased arm muscle circumference (<80% of normal) and hypoalbuminemia (<35 g/L), in the patients with tube feeding was significantly higher than that in the healthy elders. In addition, the orally fed bed-ridden patients were also malnourished, suggesting that the bed-ridden patients easily became malnourished even if they were fed energy and protein which approximated calculated predicted values. These findings raise a problem concerning nutritional management of bed-ridden patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics