CERU team at KGH awarded prestigious National Institute of Health grant

News / General
By Matthew Manor

Dr. Daren Heyland and his research team at the Kingston General Hospital Clinical Evaluation Research Unit (CERU) received a grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to advance research into meeting the nutrition needs of high risk, critically ill patients.

The TOP UP Trial is examining whether “topping up” with intravenous nutrition - providing more energy and protein - can improve the survival rates of the critically ill.

“Our previous work has shown that providing more energy and protein to patients with a Body Mass Index of less than 25 or more than 35 may be associated with better survival in critically ill patients,” says Dr. Heyland, who is also a professor at Queen's University. “The National Institutes of Health is the United States premiere medical research agency providing funding for health research. It's rare for a Canadian researcher to receive funding from this organization.”

The optimal amount of energy and protein given to a critically ill patient remains unclear but CERU's review of current intensive care unit nutrition practice shows over recent years the amount of energy and protein delivered to critically ill patients is too low. Dr. Heyland's research aims to create new guidelines. The NIH is providing a $500,000 grant for this research.

The TOP UP pilot trial started in June 2011 and there have been a total of 18 patients enrolled to date.

“With the help of this US grant, we will be able to enrol enough patients from ICUs across Canada, US and Europe to complete the two year pilot study,” says Rupinder Dhaliwal, executive director of the Nutrition and Rehabilitation Investigators Consortium based at KGH. “With the results of the pilot study, we hope to proceed to a larger trial involving 2000 patients from 40 ICUs."