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Background: In the absence of reliable predictive equations, indirect calorimetry (IC) remains the gold standard for assessing energy requirements after spinal cord injury (SCI), but it is typically confined to a research setting. The purpose of this study is to assess the feasibility and acceptability of implementing IC into routine clinical care in an Australian SCI rehabilitation facility. Methods: Bedside IC (canopy hood) was performed, and patients completed an IC acceptability questionnaire (open-ended; yes/no; 5-point Likert scale). Fasted resting energy expenditure (REE) steady-state criteria were applied to assess data quality, and adherence to a test ≥20 minutes was recorded. Staff were surveyed to assess impact of IC on usual care. Results: Of 35 eligible patients, 9 declined (7 reported claustrophobia). One patient could not be tested before discharge and 25 underwent IC (84% male, injury level C2-L2, AIS A-D). Anxiety prevented one patient from completing IC, while another failed to fast. The remaining 23 patients achieved a steady-state REE (≥5 consecutive minutes with ≤10% coefficient of variation for VO2 and VCO2). Test-retest (n = 5) showed ≤10% variation in REE. Patients deemed the procedure acceptable, with 88% reporting a willingness to repeat IC. Eighty percent of patients and 90% of staff agreed it was acceptable for IC to be integrated into usual care. Conclusion: This study found that IC is a feasible and acceptable addition to the routine clinical care of patients recovering from SCI and may serve to improve accuracy of nutrition interventions for this patient population.
Nutrition for Chronic Disease and Disability: Research to improve health related quality of life and bring forward the under-represented voice
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