Nutrition therapy in the optimisation of health outcomes in adult patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury: findings from a scoping review

Lee-Anne S Costello, Fiona E Lithander, Russell L Gruen, Lauren T Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: Patients who have sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI) have increased nutritional requirements yet are often unable to eat normally, and adequate nutritional therapy is needed to optimise recovery. The aim of the current scoping review was to describe the existing evidence for improved outcomes with optimal nutrition therapy in adult patients with moderate to severe TBI, and to identify gaps in the literature to inform future research.

METHODS: Using an exploratory scoping study approach, Medline, Cinahl, Embase, CENTRAL, the Neurotrauma reviews in the Global Evidence Mapping (GEM) Initiative, and Evidence Reviews in Acquired Brain Injury (ERABI) were searched from 2003 to 14 November 2013 using variations of the search terms 'traumatic brain injury' and 'nutrition'. Articles were included if they reported mortality, morbidity, or length of stay outcomes, and were classified according to the nature of nutrition intervention and study design.

RESULTS: Twenty relevant articles were identified of which: 12 were original research articles; two were systematic reviews; one a meta-analysis; and five were narrative reviews. Of these, eleven explored timing of feed provision, eight explored route of administration of feeding, nine examined the provision of specific nutrients, and none examined feeding environment. Some explored more than one intervention. Three sets of guidelines which contain feeding recommendations were also identified.

DISCUSSION: Inconsistency within nutrition intervention methods and outcome measures means that the present evidence base is inadequate for the construction of best practice guidelines for nutrition and TBI. Further research is necessary to elucidate the optimal nutrition therapy for adults with TBI with respect to the timing, route of administration, nutrient provision and feeding environment. A consensus on the ideal outcome measure and the most appropriate method and timing of its measurement is required as a foundation for this evidence base.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1834-41
Number of pages8
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Brain Injuries
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Therapy
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Prognosis
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Journal Article
  • Review


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