The use of metabolic balance studies in the objective discrimination between intestinal insufficiency and intestinal failure

August P Prahm, Christopher F Brandt, Carsten Askov-Hansen, Per B Mortensen, Palle B Jeppesen

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Background : In research settings that use metabolic balance studies (MBSs) of stable adult patients with short bowel syndrome, intestinal failure (IF) and dependence on parenteral support (PS) have been defined objectively as energy absorption <84% of calculated basal metabolic rate (BMR), wet weight (WW) absorption <23 g · kg body weight-1· d-1, or both.Objective:This study aimed to explore and validate these borderlines in the clinical setting.Design:Intestinal absorption was measured from April 2003 to March 2015 in 175 consecutive patients with intestinal insufficiency (INS) in 96-h MBSs. They had not received PS 3 mo before referral.Results:To avoid the need for PS, the minimum absorptive requirements were energy absorption of ≥81% of BMR and WW absorption of ≥21 g · kg body weight-1· d-1, which were equivalent to findings in research settings (differences of 3.6% and 8.7%;P= 0.65 and 0.60, respectively). Oral failure defined as energy intake <130% of calculated BMR or WW intake <40 g · kg body weight-1· d-1was seen in 71% and 82% of the 10% of patients with the lowest energy absorption and WW absorption, respectively.Conclusions:In clinical settings, the borderlines between INS and IF were not significantly different from those in research settings, even in an unselected patient population in which oral failure was also a predominant cause of nutritional dyshomeostasis. MBSs may be recommended to identify the individual patient in the spectrum from INS to IF, to objectivize the cause of nutritional dyshomeostasis (oral failure, malabsorption, or both), and to quantify the effects of treatment.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalThe American journal of clinical nutrition
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)831-838
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Adult
    • Basal Metabolism
    • Diagnosis, Differential
    • Dietary Fats
    • Disease Progression
    • Energy Intake
    • Female
    • Homeostasis
    • Humans
    • Intestinal Absorption
    • Intestinal Diseases
    • Intestines
    • Malabsorption Syndromes
    • Male
    • Middle Aged
    • Parenteral Nutrition
    • Retrospective Studies
    • Short Bowel Syndrome
    • Comparative Study
    • Journal Article
    • Validation Studies


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