When a patient is fed parenterally after a period of starvation certain metabolic problems can occur. Please list these problems, and outline your principles of management for each.
The refeeding syndrome is associated with a number of metabolic problems, which in general can be diminished by the gradual introduction of nutrients (eg. limit to 20 kcals/kg for first day), anticipation and pre-emptive replacement, and the careful monitoring of the patient. These changes are more likely to occur in the severely malnoursished or those who have had a rapid weight loss. They can occur with both enteral and parenteral feeding.
Associated problems include:
• Hypophosphatemia (which may be severe and associated with impaired myocardial function, weakness, rhabdomyolysis and even seizures), which is treated by replacement, but may be prevented to some degree by additional pre-emptive phosphate replacement
• Hypokalaemia and hypomagnesemia (which can lead to weakness, and arrhythmias)
require monitoring and replacement
• Thiamine deficiency (which may result in Wernicke’s encephalopathy) requiring thiamine replacement in anticipation or treatment
• Fluid overload and cardiac failure (multifactorial), avoiding with careful monitoring and replacement
Refeeding syndrome is discussed in greater detail elsewhere.
Examples of previous SAQs on this topic include the following:
In the interest of click economy, I will include the table of refeeding syndrome complications here.
Hearing, Stephen D. "Refeeding syndrome." BMJ 328.7445 (2004): 908-909.
Stanga, Z., et al. "Nutrition in clinical practice—the refeeding syndrome: illustrative cases and guidelines for prevention and treatment." European journal of clinical nutrition 62.6 (2008): 687-694.
Kraft, Michael D., Imad F. Btaiche, and Gordon S. Sacks. "Review of the refeeding syndrome." Nutrition in Clinical Practice 20.6 (2005): 625-633.
Khan, Laeeq UR, et al. "Refeeding syndrome: a literature review."Gastroenterology research and practice 2011 (2010).