Targeted full energy and protein delivery in critically ill patients: a study protocol for a pilot randomised control trial (FEED Trial)
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Background: Current guidelines for the provision of protein for critically ill patients are based on incomplete evidence, due to limited data from randomised controlled trials. The present pilot randomised controlled trial is part of a program of work to expand knowledge about the clinical effects of protein delivery to critically ill patients. The primary aim of this pilot study is to determine whether an enteral feeding protocol using a volume target, with additional protein supplementation, delivers a greater amount of protein and energy to mechanically ventilated critically ill patients than a standard nutrition protocol. The secondary aims are to evaluate the potential effects of this feeding strategy on muscle mass and other patient-centred outcomes. Methods: This prospective, single-centred, pilot, randomised control trial will include 60 participants who are mechanically ventilated and can be enterally fed. Following informed consent, the participants receiving enteral nutrition in the intensive care unit (ICU) will be allocated using a randomisation algorithm in a 1:1 ratio to the intervention (high-protein daily volume-based feeding protocol, providing 25 kcal/kg and 1.5 g/kg protein) or standard care (hourly rate-based feeding protocol providing 25 kcal/kg and 1 g/kg protein). The co-primary outcomes are the average daily protein and energy delivered to the end of day 15 following randomisation. The secondary outcomes include change in quadriceps muscle layer thickness (QMLT) from baseline (prior to randomisation) to ICU discharge and other nutritional and patient-centred outcomes. Discussion: This trial aims to examine whether a volume-based feeding protocol with supplemental protein increases protein and energy delivery. The potential effect of such increases on muscle mass loss will be explored. These outcomes will assist in formulating larger randomised control trials to assess mortality and morbidity. Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR), ACTRN: 12615000876594 UTN: U1111-1172-8563.