Immune Enteral Nutrition Can Improve Outcomes in Medical-Surgical Patients with ARDS: A Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial

Elamin M Elamin, Andrew C Miller and Sophia Ziad

Objective: To determine if early continuous enteral feeding of a diet containing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), docosahexaenoic acid, and antioxidants in surgical-medical patients with ARDS improves Lung Injury Score (LIS), gas exchange, Multiple Organ Dysfunction (MOD) Score, ICU length of stay, and days on mechanical ventilation.

Methods: Prospective randomized 2-center double-blind controlled trial of 17 ARDS patients whom continuously tube-fed the experimental diet (n=9) or an isonitrogenous, isocaloric standard diet (n=8) at a minimum caloric delivery of 90% of basal energy expenditure.

Results: In the experimental group, there was a decrease in lung injury score (p < 0.003) and lower ventilation variables (p < 0.001). Patients in the experimental group had a statistically significant decrease in 28-day MOD score (p < 0.05). The length of ICU stay was significantly decreased in the experimental group (12.8 vs. 17.5 days; p = 0.01). The study was underpowered to detect any survival benefits between the two groups.

Conclusion: An EPA and GLA supplemented diet contributes to improved gas exchange in addition to decrease LIS, MOD scores and length of ICU stay in patients with ARDS. An EPA+GLA-enriched enteral diet may be an effective tool in the medical management of ARDS.