To evaluate the effect of esophageal stimulation on nutritional adequacy in critically ill patients at risk for enteral feeding intolerance
A multicenter randomized sham-controlled clinical trial.
Twelve ICUs in Canada.
We included mechanically ventilated ICU patients who were given moderate-to-high doses of opioids and expected to remain alive and ventilated for an additional 48 hours and who were receiving enteral nutrition or expected to start imminently.
Patients were randomly assigned 1:1 to esophageal stimulation via an esophageal stimulating catheter (E-Motion Tube; E-Motion Medical, Tel Aviv, Israel) or sham treatment. All patients were fed via these catheters using a standardized feeding protocol.
Measurements and Main Results:
The co-primary outcomes were proportion of caloric and protein prescription received enterally over the initial 7 days following randomization. Among 159 patients randomized, the modified intention-to-treat analysis included 155 patients: 73 patients in the active treatment group and 82 in the sham treatment group. Over the 7-day study period, the percent of prescribed caloric intake (± se
) received by the enteral route was 64% ± 2 in the active group and 65% ± 2 in sham patients for calories (difference, –1; 95% CI, –8 to 6; p
= 0.74). For protein, it was 57% ± 3 in the active group and 60% ± 3 in the sham group (difference, –3; 95% CI, –10 to 3; p
= 0.30). Compared to the sham group, there were more serious adverse events reported in the active treatment group (13 vs 6; p
= 0.053). Clinically important arrhythmias were detected by Holter monitoring in 36 out of 70 (51%) in the active group versus 22 out of 76 (29%) in the sham group (p
Esophageal stimulation via a special feeding catheter did not improve nutritional adequacy and was associated with increase risk of harm in critically ill patients.