Bowel Dysfunction and Enteral Nutrition in Critically Ill Adult Patients: A retrospective, Observational Study

Document Type


Publication Date



Trauma & Acute Care Surgery

Journal Title

Topics in Clinical Nutrition


This retrospective study investigated diarrhea, constipation, associations of enteral nutrition (EN), and medications in critically ill patients (n = 4118). Data were retrieved from electronic health records. Over half (68%) of patients had diarrhea and 8% had constipation. Diarrhea and constipation were more common in patients in the EN group (n = 799) than in the no-EN group (n = 802). Interestingly, patients who received EN were administered more medications with lower incidence of diarrhea than patients who did not receive EN. The findings of this study highlight the importance of reviewing medications (i.e., opioids, prophylactic laxative regimens, and antibiotics) as well as formula composition for potential contributing etiologies to bowel movement abnormalities in critically ill patients.