Glutamine in ICU
Of interest to intensivists….
Background: Low plasma glutamine concentration is an independent prognostic factor for an unfavourable outcome in the intensive care unit (ICU). Intravenous (i.v.) supplementation with glutamine is reported to improve outcome. In a multi-centric, double-blinded, controlled, randomised, pragmatic clinical trial of i.v. glutamine supplementation for ICU patients, we investigated outcomes regarding sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) scores and mortality. The hypothesis was that the change in the SOFA score would be improved by glutamine supplementation.
Methods: Patients (n=413) given nutrition by an enteral and/or a parenteral route with the aim of providing full nutrition were included within 72 h after ICU admission. Glutamine was supplemented as i.v. l-alanyl-l-glutamine, 0.283 g glutamine/kg body weight/24 h for the entire ICU stay. Placebo was saline in identical bottles. All included patients were considered as intention-to-treat patients. Patients given supplementation for >3 days were considered as predetermined per protocol (PP) patients.
Results: There was a lower ICU mortality in the treatment arm as compared with the controls in the PP group, but not at 6 months. For change in the SOFA scores, no differences were seen, 1 (0,3) vs. 2 (0.4), P=0.792, for the glutamine group and the controls, respectively.
Conclusion: In summary, a reduced ICU mortality was observed during i.v. glutamine supplementation in the PP group. The pragmatic design of the study makes the results representative for a broad range of ICU patients.
Scandinavian glutamine trial: a pragmatic multi-centre randomised clinical trial of intensive care unit patients
Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2011 Aug;55(7):812-818