This Week In The Bmj

Routine protein energy supplementation may improve patient outcomes

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 22 August 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:b

Although it is recognised that hospital patients are frequently undernourished, it is not clear if routine protein energy supplementation improves patient outcomes. On p 495 Potter et al report on a systematic review of the randomised controlled trials of routine protein energy supplementation by the oral or enteral route. Patients receiving supplements were more likely to show improvements in weight and anthropometry and were less likely to die. However, when the analysis was restricted to those trials clearly describing a good methodological design, the observed benefits were diminished. Although there may be significant and important health benefits from routine prescribing of protein energy supplementation, further large pragmatic trials are justified.