OPUS 12 Scientist, Volume 4, Number 1 (Jan-Jun 2010)

Absite corner: Refeeding syndrome

Sangeetha Prabhakaran


Refeeding syndrome is a clinical syndrome occurring in severely malnourished individuals, usually after initiation or re-initiation of definitive nutritional support. The clinical presentation is varied and a high index of suspicion is required for diagnosis. The following case illustrates this condition: An 80-year-old male patient is admitted to the intensive care unit with delirium, dehydration and malnutrition. The patient is treated with intravenous fluids for volume repletion and acute electrolyte abnormalities are being corrected. He responds well to this initial management. On hospital day #2, he is started on nasoenteric tube feeds providing approximately 1750 kcal/day. On hospital day #3, the patient begins to experience progressive shortness of breath, muscle weakness and peripheral edema. He then develops cardiac arrhythmia and electrolyte panel shows hypophosphatemia, hypomagnesemia and hypokalemia. A diagnosis of refeeding syndrome is made and the patient is managed with correction of electrolyte abnormalities and continued provision of adequate caloric intake.

Cite as: Prabhakaran S. Absite corner: Refeeding syndrome. OPUS 12 Scientist 2010; 4(1):3-5.

Keywords: Refeeding syndrome, Nutritional supplementation, ABSITE, Review, Diagnosis and treatment.

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