Editor’s Spot: Revisiting Enteral Nutrition
By Judith Riddle
Today’s Dietitian
Vol. 26 No. 3 P. 4

Many clinical dietitians who work in nutrition support or aspire to are attending the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 2024 Nutrition Science & Practice Conference in Tampa, Florida, where they’ll learn about the latest cutting-edge, evidence-based research on parenteral nutrition (PN) and enteral nutrition (EN) therapies, formulations, guidelines, and best practices.

Over the past several years, Today’s Dietitian (TD) has covered several topics surrounding PN and EN administration. In this month’s issue, we focus on EN, which involves the provision of nutrition directly into the gastrointestinal (GI) tract through a feeding tube placed into the stomach or small intestine. The nutrition consists of a liquid food mixture containing all of the vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, protein, and other nutrients necessary to meet patients’ needs.

Providing and monitoring EN for optimal care takes the expertise of a multidisciplinary health care team of physicians, nurses, and dietitians who are certified nutrition support specialists.

Patients who receive EN include children and adults of all ages who can’t take food by mouth either temporarily or long term. They may have a variety of health conditions, such as cancer, GI or non-GI diseases, critical illness, stroke, kidney disease, or lung disease. EN can be administered in the hospital or at home.

While EN is an excellent therapeutic modality for providing nutrition, it’s not without its complexities for clinicians and patients. Some of the important issues regarding EN are treatment of malnutrition, critical illness, device safety, microbial contamination prevention, optimal delivery methods, use of artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, discharge planning, blenderized tube feeding practice standards, micronutrient and fluid management for various disease states in pediatric and adult populations, product shortages, transitioning from hospital to home care, and more.

In this month’s edition, TD features the article “Enteral Nutrition Administration: Clearing Up Common Misconceptions for Optimal Patient Care” on page 30. In this article, dietitians will learn what these misconceptions are that hinder optimal patient care so they can make the best treatment and management decisions.

Also in this issue are articles on the safety and efficacy of red yeast rice for lowering cholesterol, strategies for ensuring culturally appropriate food media, flexitarian eating, home-based palliative care, and prevention and treatment of obesity in children. In honor of National Nutrition Month® and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, we’re showcasing our annual TD10 feature, which profiles the top 10 dietitians you nominated for their exceptional work in the nutrition profession. Please enjoy the issue!

— Judith Riddle, Editor