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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


PINTO-DA-COSTA, Beatriz et al. Intestinal dysfunction in the critical trauma patients. An early and frequent event. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2017, vol.34, n.2, pp.284-289. ISSN 1699-5198.


Small-bowel dysfunction exerts a relevant prognostic impact in the critically ill patients. Citrullinemia has been used in the evaluation of the intestinal function and it is considered an objective parameter of the functional enterocyte mass. Present study proposes to determine the intestinal dysfunction prevalence and the citrullinemia kinetic profile in severe trauma patients and to investigate its correlation with severity indicators and clinical outcome.


A prospective study including 23 critical trauma patients was performed. Aminoacidemias were quantified, by ion exchange chromatography, at the admission and at the first and third days. Severity and outcome parameters were registered.


In severe trauma patients, severe hypocitrullinemia (< 20 μmol/L) prevalence at admission was high (69.6%) and mean citrullinemia was low (19.5 ± 11.1 μmol/L). Baseline citrullinemia was inversely and significantly correlated with shock index (r = -55.1%, p = 0.008) and extent of invasive ventilation support (r = -42.7%, p = 0.042). Citrullinemia < 13.7 μmol/L at admission, observed in 17.4% of patients, was associated with higher shock index (1.27 ± 0.10 versus 0.75 ± 0.18, p = 0.0001) and longer duration of invasive ventilation support (20.3 ± 7 versus 11.2 ± 7.1 days, p = 0.029) and intensive care unit stay (22 ± 5.9 versus 12.2 ± 8.8 days, p = 0.048). A citrullinemia decrease in the first day after admittance superior to 12.7% constituted a significant predictive factor of in-hospital mortality (75 versus 14.3%, p = 0.044; odds ratio = 7.8; accuracy = 65.2%; specificity = 92.3%; negative predictive value = 85.7%] and lower actuarial survival (69.8 ± 41.6 versus 278.1 ± 37.4 days, p = 0.034).


Those results confirm the high prevalence and the prognostic relevance of hypocitrullinemia, considered a biomarker of enterocyte dysfunction, in severe trauma patients.

Keywords : Citrulline; Intestinal dysfunction; Trauma; Mortality; Critically ill patients.

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