Context-Catecholamines and inflammatory mediators, with elevated levels after brain death, are associated with reduced function and survival of transplanted organs. Enteral nutrition reduces tissue damage and may benefit organs.Objective-To evaluate the effects of immunomodulating enteral nutrition in organ donors.Design-Prospective, randomized, open-label study.Setting- Intensive care unit.Patients-Thirty-six brain-dead organ donors.Interventions- Donors were randomized to receive enteral nutrition containing omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, antioxidants, and glutamine or standard care (fasting). Donors received hormonal replacement therapy of corticosteroid, levothyroxine, dextrose, and insulin.Main Outcome Measures-Gastrointestinal assimilation (measured by 13carbon-labeled uracil breath analysis), quantity of organs recovered, resting energy expenditure, urine level of urea nitrogen, and serum levels of albumin, prealbumin, interleukin 6, tumor necrosis factor-α, and C-reactive protein were evaluated.Results-Thirteen patients (36%) assimilated 13C-labeled uracil. Resting energy expenditure was significantly higher than predicted between 10 and 14 hours after baseline in 33 donors (P= .007). Other measures were not conclusively different between fed and fasting groups. No adverse events occurred that were related to the enteral feeding.Conclusions-About 30% of donors metabolized 13C-labeled uracil, although no difference in oxidation rate was found between fasting and fed donors. Corticosteroid administration lowers plasma levels of interleukin 6 and most likely contributes to greater than predicted resting energy expenditure. Thus energy needs may not be met during fasting if hormones are given. Consequences of this possible energy deficit warrant further study.
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