Altered drug and nutrient absorption presents a unique challenge in critically ill patients. Performing an acetaminophen absorption test (AAT) has been used as a marker for gastric motility and upper small bowel absorption; thus, it may provide objective data regarding enteral absorptive ability in critically ill patients.
What is the clinical experience with AAT when used as a surrogate marker for enteral absorption in critically ill patients?
This single-center, retrospective, cohort study evaluated serum acetaminophen concentrations within 180 minutes following 1-time enteral administration of an AAT. Patients admitted to the surgical and medical intensive care units and medical intensive care units over a 7-year period were evaluated. Groups were defined as positive (acetaminophen concentration of ≥10 mg/L) or negative (acetaminophen concentration of <10 mg/L) AAT.
Measures and Outcomes:
The outcomes were to describe the clinical experience, characteristics, and performance of AAT.
Forty-eight patients were included. Patients were 58.5 ± 14 years of age, mostly male (58.3%), and admitted to the surgical intensive care unit (66.7%). Median hospital length of stay was 47.5 (27–78.8) days. Thirty-four patients (70.8%) had a positive AAT [median concentration, 14 (12–18) mg/L]. Median time to first detectable concentration was 37 (33–64) minutes. AAT characteristics were similar between the groups including total dose, weight-based dose, time to first and second assays, drug formulation, and site of administration between groups. There were no independent risk factors identified on regression analysis for negative AAT.
An acetaminophen dose of 15 mg/kg with 2 coordinated serum concentrations approximately 30 and 60 minutes after administration is a reasonable construct for AAT. Future research is needed to assess AAT utility, safety, and clinical outcomes for predicting patient ability to absorb enteral feeds and medications.