Malnutrition in the ICU patient can be the result of acute and chronic illness, trauma, and inflammation, which induce stress‐related catabolism, thus increasing the metabolic rate at which the body breaks down food. In addition to this, drug‐related side-effects may affect ingestion, leading appetite loss, nausea or vomiting.  Critically ill people, who may be unconscious, unable to feed themselves or unable to receive oral nutritional support, or both, are at increased susceptibility to malnutrition.

Identifying patients with malnutrition early in the ICU admission is key to preventing poor long-term outcomes.

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