Are Predictive Energy Expenditure Equations in Ventilated Surgery Patients Accurate?

Christopher J. Tignanelli, Allan G. Andrews, Kurt M. Sieloff, Melissa R. Pleva, Heidi A. Reichert, Jennifer A. Wooley, Lena M. Napolitano, Jill R. Cherry-Bukowiec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: While indirect calorimetry (IC) is the gold standard used to calculate specific calorie needs in the critically ill, predictive equations are frequently utilized at many institutions for various reasons. Prior studies suggest these equations frequently misjudge actual resting energy expenditure (REE) in medical and mixed intensive care unit (ICU) patients; however, their utility for surgical ICU (SICU) patients has not been fully evaluated. Therefore, the objective of this study was to compare the REE measured by IC with REE calculated using specific calorie goals or predictive equations for nutritional support in ventilated adult SICU patients. Materials and Methods: A retrospective review of prospectively collected data was performed on all adults (n = 419, 18-91 years) mechanically ventilated for >24 hours, with an Fio 2 ≤ 60%, who met IC screening criteria. Caloric needs were estimated using Harris-Benedict equations (HBEs), and 20, 25, and 30 kcal/kg/d with actual (ABW), adjusted (ADJ), and ideal body (IBW) weights. The REE was measured using IC. Results: The estimated REE was considered accurate when within ±10% of the measured REE by IC. The HBE, 20, 25, and 30 kcal/kg/d estimates of REE were found to be inaccurate regardless of age, gender, or weight. The HBE and 20 kcal/kg/d underestimated REE, while 25 and 30 kcal/kg/d overestimated REE. Of the methods studied, those found to most often accurately estimate REE were the HBE using ABW, which was accurate 35% of the time, and 25 kcal/kg/d ADJ, which was accurate 34% of the time. This difference was not statistically significant. Conclusion: Using HBE, 20, 25, or 30 kcal/kg/d to estimate daily caloric requirements in critically ill surgical patients is inaccurate compared to REE measured by IC. In SICU patients with nutrition requirements essential to recovery, IC measurement should be performed to guide clinicians in determining goal caloric requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-431
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • Harris-Benedict equations
  • indirect calorimetry
  • metabolic cart
  • resting energy expenditure
  • surgical critical care

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Journal Article


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