RESEARCH – November 2010

Prevalence of gastrointestinal failure in intensive care (ICU) patients requiring mechanical ventilation


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AIM. To describe the incidence of gastrointestinal failure and its impact on treatment outcome by gastrointestinal failure score (GIF score) in mechanically ventilated ICU patients. GIF score was developed in 2008 and it expresses gastrointestinal failure as a combination of two different markers – intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) and failure of enteral feeding.

METHODS. This is a prospective prevalence study. We included all adult ICU patients requiring mechanical ventilation for at least 24 hours (n = 389).

RESULTS. IAH developed in 115 (29.6%) and enteral feeding intole rance in  210 (54.5%) patients. Gastrointestinal failure (GIF score of at least 3 points forat least one day) occurred in 67 patients (17.2%). Mortality rates for different groups of patients by GIF score correlated with severity of the syndrome. Combination of GIF score with SOFA score did not increase the predictive value of the latter in prediction of mortality.

CONCLUSIONS. Enteral feeding intolerance and IAH occur frequently in mechanically ventilated ICU patients. GIF score correlates with mortality. Further studies are needed to clarify whether GIF score could be used as a complement to SOFA score.