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Introduction: Nutritional support generates complications that must be detected and treated on time.

Objective: To estimate the incidence of some complications of nutritional support in patients admitted to general hospital wards who received nutritional support in six high-complexity institutions.

Methods: Prospective, descriptive and multicentric study in patients with nutritional support; the variables studied were medical diagnosis, nutritional condition, nutritional support duration, approach, kind of formula, and eight complications.

Results: A total of 277 patients were evaluated; 83% received enteral nutrition and 17% received parenteral nutrition. Some 69.3% presented risk of malnourishment or severe malnourishment at admittance. About 35.4% of those receiving enteral nutrition and 39.6% of the ones who received parenteral nutrition had complications; no significant difference per support was found (p = 0.363). For the enteral nutrition, the most significant complication was the removal of the catheter (14%), followed by diarrhea (8.3%); an association between the duration of the enteral support with diarrhea, constipation and removal of the catheter was found (p < 0.05). For parenteral nutrition, hyperglycemia was the complication of highest inci­dence (22.9%), followed by hypophosphatemia (12.5%); all complications were associated with the duration of the support (p < 0.05). Nutritional support was suspended in 24.2% of the patients.

Conclusions: Complications with nutritional support in hospital-ward patients were frequent, with the removal of the catheter and hyperglycemia showing the highest incidence. Duration of the support was the variable that revealed an asso­ciation with complications. Strict application of protocols could decrease the risk for complications and boost nutritional support benefits.

Gloria María Agudelo Ochoa, Universidad de Antioquia

Research Group on Food and Human Nutrition

Nubia Amparo Giraldo Giraldo, Universidad de Antioquia

Research Group on Food and Human Nutrition, Universidad de Antioquia

Nora Luz Aguilar, Hospital General

Hospital General de Medellín

Beatriz Elena Restrepo, Hospital General

Hospital General de Medellín

Marcela Vanegas, IPS Universitaria

IPS Universitaria

Sandra Alzate, Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe

Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe

Mónica Martínez, Hospital San Vicente de Paul

Hospital Universitario San Vicente de Paúl

Sonia Patriacia Gamboa, Instituto Neurológico de Antioquia

Instituto Neurológico de Antioquía

Eliana Castaño, IPS Universitaria

IPS Universitaria

Janeth Barbosa, Clínica las Américas

Clínica Las Américas

Juliana Román, Universidad de Antioquia

Research Group on Food and Human Nutrition, Universidad de Antioquia

Angela María Serna, Universida de Antioquia

Research Group on Food and Human Nutrition, Universidad de Antioquia

Gloria Marcela Hoyos, Universidad de Antioquia

Research Group on Food and Human Nutrition, Universidad de Antioquia

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Received 2011-07-28
Accepted 2011-11-29
Published 2012-06-25