Perioperative fasting in burn patients: Are we doing it right?
Background. Burn patients have high metabolic demands requiring aggressive nutritional supplementation. Multiple operations necessitate a period of starvation. This audit was undertaken to review the total duration of starvation experienced by burn patients in a regional hospital.
Methods. This study reviewed the nutritional intake/output data for 3 months of admitted patients using standard formulas to calculate the average energy deficit.
Results. Nine adult patients with an average burn of 21% total body surface area (TBSA) were included, with an average starvation period of 21 hours. There were 10 paediatric patients with an average burn of 18% TBSA and average starvation period of 18 hours. There was an average 12% deficit in weekly energy requirements.
Conclusion. Burn patients are starved for periods longer than necessary, which may have implications for recovery. Shortened fasting is preferable and safe. Perioperative starvation protocols specific for burn patients in this hospital need to be developed and enforced.
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