Rodrigues de Barros, Josiane1; Melo Soares, Fabiana1; Fraga Lobo, Iza Maria2
Introduction: Intestinal constipation is a frequent complication in critically ill patients with enteral nutritional therapy and several factors may contribute to its occurrence in intensive care units (ICU).
Objectives: Evaluate the incidence of intestinal constipation in patients with enteral nutrition admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) and its association with length of hospital stay and mortality.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional, prospective study whose population consisted of all adult patients (≥ 18 years) using exclusive enteral nutritional therapy admitted to an adult clinical ICU in a public emergency hospital. Data collection was done directly from patients’ records. Demographic, epidemiological and clinical data, in addition to the number of bowel movements and stool consistency were recorded in order to identify the occurrence of constipation - defined as absence of evacuation for 3 days - and its association with length of hospital stay and mortality. Statistical analysis was performed using the Epi-info program, version 7.
Results: The study population corresponded to 102 patients admitted during the study period. The mean age of the patients was 50.3 ± 17.2 years, and 66.6% were male. The incidence of intestinal constipation was 50% (n = 51). No association was found between length of hospital stay and mortality with intestinal constipation. There was also no association between the use of diet without fibers and the occurrence of constipation.
Conclusion: The incidence of intestinal constipation in patients undergoing nutritional therapy in the unit evaluated was high. Protocols with measures of control, prevention and even treatment of this intercurrence are of fundamental importance in clinical practice.