Feasibility and acceptability of implementing indirect calorimetry into routine clinical care of patients with spinal cord injury Academic Article uri icon


  • Background: In the absence of reliable predictive equations, indirect calorimetry (IC) remains the gold standard for assessing energy requirements after spinal cord injury (SCI), but it is typically confined to a research setting. The purpose of this study is to assess the feasibility and acceptability of implementing IC into routine clinical care in an Australian SCI rehabilitation facility. Methods: Bedside IC (canopy hood) was performed, and patients completed an IC acceptability questionnaire (open-ended; yes/no; 5-point Likert scale). Fasted resting energy expenditure (REE) steady-state criteria were applied to assess data quality, and adherence to a test ≥20 minutes was recorded. Staff were surveyed to assess impact of IC on usual care. Results: Of 35 eligible patients, 9 declined (7 reported claustrophobia). One patient could not be tested before discharge and 25 underwent IC (84% male, injury level C2-L2, AIS A-D). Anxiety prevented one patient from completing IC, while another failed to fast. The remaining 23 patients achieved a steady-state REE (≥5 consecutive minutes with ≤10% coefficient of variation for VO2 and VCO2). Test-retest (n = 5) showed <10% variation in REE. Patients deemed the procedure acceptable, with 88% reporting a willingness to repeat IC. Eighty percent of patients and 90% of staff agreed it was acceptable for IC to be integrated into usual care. Conclusion: This study found that IC is a feasible and acceptable addition to the routine clinical care of patients recovering from SCI and may serve to improve accuracy of nutrition interventions for this patient population.


  • Nevin, Amy
  • Mayr, Hannah
  • Atresh, Sridhar
  • Kemp, Irene
  • Simmons, Joshua
  • Vivanti, Angela
  • Hickman, Ingrid J

publication date

  • 2016