Revista de Nutrição
Print version ISSN 1415-5273
PACIFICO, Stefânia Lucizani; LEITE, Heitor Pons and CARVALHO, Werther Brunow de. Glutamine supplementation: is it beneficial to critically ill children?. Rev. Nutr. [online]. 2005, vol.18, n.1, pp. 95-104. ISSN 1415-5273. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-52732005000100009.
Although there have been several randomized trials, conducted with critically ill adults, reporting the benefits of glutamine supplementation, there is scarce information on the role of glutamine in the treatment outcome of critically ill children. Our objective was to evaluate existing studies on the effect of glutamine supplementation, aiming at verifying the clinical benefits of such supplementation for critically ill children. A computerized search was conducted to select prospective, randomized, clinical trials of critically ill children, published between 1992 and 2003. Studies were included if, besides presenting the characteristics already mentioned, they evaluated the effects of parenteral and the enteral glutamine supplementing vs. those of standard care. The variables on clinical outcomes were: time to achieve full enteral nutrition, hospital length of stay, complication rates, and mortality. Three bibliographic databases were searched: Medline, LILACS and Cochrane Library. Search terms included: glutamine, critically ill, trauma, sepsis, burned, injured, bone marrow transplantation, intensive care, and mechanic ventilation. Initial screening resulted in 33 original articles; of these potentially eligible articles, only 7 fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Length of hospital stay, mortality rate, and hospital costs were not different for patients receiving glutamine-supplemented nutrition, when compared to those receiving non-supplemented diet. Glutamine was associated with reduction in the time necessary to achieve full enteral feeding and parenteral nutrition. There is no evidence to support the routine use of either parenteral or enteral glutamine supplement when treating critically ill children. The small number of patients, heterogeneity with respect to the studied groups, routes of administration, and confounding effects of concomitant diseases, all limit the inferences we can make from the results.
Keywords : child; glutamine; enteral nutrition; parenteral nutrition; suplementary feeding; intensive care.