Context: Nutrition support is part of the standard care in the intensive care unit. There is a paradox in the use of enteral and parenteral nutrition methods in ICU patients.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare the effects of enteral and parenteral nutrition methods in patients admitted to the ICU.
Data Sources: This article is a narrative review. A total of 619 articles, were extracted during the years of 2000 - 2018, on nutrition methods in ICU patients, with keywords enteral nutrition, parenteral nutrition, and nutrition in critical patients in databases of internal (SID, Iran Medex, Medlib) and external publications (PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar); finally, 19 articles were analyzed.
Results: Enteral administration reduced the associated infectious morbidity, hospitalization time, mortality, costs, non-infectious complications, multiple organ failure, systemic infections, local septic complications, and the need for surgery. It also causes early returning of intestinal movements, faster preoperative weight gain, easier fluid and electrolyte management, reduction of hyper metabolic responses, more complete nutrition, preservation of the gastrointestinal mucosa, and the ability to complete the program by the patient. Parenteral nutrition increases infectious complications, hyperglycemia, coagulation disorders and duration of hospital stay, as well as effects on invasive ventilation.
Conclusions: Enteral nutrition is safer and less complicated. By improving the awareness of careers through education, patients can be improved faster.
Keywords: Enteral Nutrition, Intensive Care Unit, Parenteral Nutrition