Protein sparing and protein replacement in acutely injured patients during TPN with and without amino acid supply

G. Iapichino, L. Gattinoni, M. Solca, D. Radrizzani, M. Zucchetti, M. Langer, S. Vesconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The metabolic effects of TPN were studied in a selected group of trauma patients. Nineteen patients were randomly divided into two groups: the first was treated with glucose and insulin, the second with glucose, insulin and amino acids. Each patient in both groups received TPN isocaloric with respect to daily energy output and the treatment lasted five days. Each group was further divided into two subsets (severe or moderate catabolism) according to fasting energy output with respect to the expected energy expenditure. During the acute flow phase, both in moderate as well as in severe catabolism, glucose and insulin were effective for protein sparing; the maximum protein sparing effect was reached when giving a caloric intake equal to 130% of daily energy output. Glucose, insulin and amino acids were effective in replacement of nitrogen losses. In moderately catabolic patients nitrogen balance was significantly better than in severely catabolic patients. This study shows that early and short-term TPN is effective in controlling the flow phase of trauma. Glucose and insulin appear to be the determinants of the protein sparing effect when given in amounts equal to those needed; amino acids provided protein replacement when given in amounts equal to about 20% of energy output. Energy supply higher than 120-130% of daily energy output does not increase protein sparing and protein replacement, the only effect being a further increase in metabolism, which is possibly dangerous in critically ill patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-31
Number of pages7
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1982


  • Amino acids
  • Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Protein sparing
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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