A study conducted by German healthcare company Fresenius Kabi has revealed that more than 75% of critically ill patients in Latin American hospitals are either malnourished or at risk of becoming malnourished.

The multinational study, Screening Day Latin America, evaluated nutrition practices followed by 120 hospitals across Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Peru, as part of the company's 'United for clinical nutrition' initiative.

The revelation is based on research conducted on more than 1,000 patients.

Fresenius Kabi Global medical clinical and regulatory affairs vice-president Dr John Stover said: "All critically ill patients involved in this study were receiving clinical nutrition support. Nevertheless, the prevalence of caloric deficits among this patient group was found to be very high.

"We hope these results increase awareness and knowledge about current nutritional management, and offer solutions for improvement."

"Caloric intake failed to meet targeted energy delivery in more than one-third of patients in this high-risk population.

"We hope these results increase awareness and knowledge about current nutritional management, and offer solutions for improvement."

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The study showed that a protein deficit and a caloric deficit was present in 49% and 40% of the critically ill adults respectively.

Hospital Clínico de la Universidad de Chile multidisciplinary team of nutrition therapy head Dr. Karin Papapietro Vallejo said: "The results showed an increased probability of patients reaching their caloric target when receiving both enteral and parental nutrition compared to those patients receiving enteral nutrition alone.

"We believe the route of clinical nutrition administration is significantly associated with the caloric target met. The findings of this study suggest that administration of supplemental parenteral nutrition could be an opportunity for critically ill adults, who fail to receive adequate nutrition support from enteral nutrition alone."

The 'United for clinical nutrition' was launched in 2015 to support healthcare professionals across Latin America, by providing practical, data-driven, online and offline therapy support tools to provide best practice for the clinical nutrition of critically ill patients.