Metabolic response to the stress of critical illness

JC Preiser, C Ichai, JC Orban, Johan Groeneveld

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198 Citations (Scopus)


The metabolic response to stress is part of the adaptive response to survive critical illness. Several mechanisms are well preserved during evolution, including the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, the release of pituitary hormones, a peripheral resistance to the effects of these and other anabolic factors, triggered to increase the provision of energy substrates to the vital tissues. The pathways of energy production are altered and alternative substrates are used as a result of the loss of control of energy substrate utilization by their availability. The clinical consequences of the metabolic response to stress include sequential changes in energy expenditure, stress hyperglycaemia, changes in body composition, and psychological and behavioural problems. The loss of muscle proteins and function is a major long-term consequence of stress metabolism. Specific therapeutic interventions, including hormone supplementation, enhanced protein intake, and early mobilization, are investigated. This review aims to summarize the pathophysiological mechanisms, the clinical consequences, and therapeutic implications of the metabolic response to stress.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)945-954
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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