Association of Energy and Protein Delivery on Skeletal Muscle Mass Changes in Critically Ill Adults: A Systematic Review Academic Article uri icon


  • Critically ill patients experience significant and rapid loss of skeletal muscle mass, which has been associated with negative clinical outcomes. The aetiology of muscle wasting is multifactorial and nutrition delivery may play a role. A systematic literature review was conducted to examine the association of energy and/or protein provision on changes in skeletal muscle mass in critically ill patients. Key databases were searched up until March 2016 to identify studies that measured skeletal muscle mass and/or total body protein (TBP) at 2 or more time points during acute critical illness (up to 2 weeks after an intensive care unit [ICU] stay). Studies were included if there was documentation of participant energy balance or mean energy delivered to participants during the time period between body composition measurements. Six studies met inclusion criteria. A variety of methods were used to assess skeletal muscle mass or TBP. Participants in included studies experienced differing levels of muscle loss (0%-22.5%) during the first 2 weeks of ICU admission. No association between energy and protein delivery and changes in skeletal muscle mass were observed. This review highlights that there is currently limited high-quality evidence to clearly define the association between energy and/or protein delivery and skeletal muscle mass changes in acute critical illness. Future studies in this area should be adequately powered, account for all potential confounding factors to changes in skeletal muscle mass, and detail all sources and quantities of energy and protein delivered to participants.

publication date

  • 2018