To evaluate the nutritional, metabolic and immune effects of dietary arginine, glutamine and omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) supplementation in immunocompromised patients, we performed a prospective study on the effect of immune formula administered to 11 severe trauma patients (average ISS = 24), 10 burn patients (average % TBSA = 48) and 5 cancer patients.

Daily calorie and protein administration were based on the patient's severity (Stress factor with the range of 35-50 kcal/kg/day and 1.5-2.5 g/kg/day, respectively) Starting with half concentration liquid immune formula through nasogastric tube by continuous drip at 30 ml/h and increasing to maximum level within 4 days. The additional energy and protein requirement will be given either by parenteral or oral nutritional support. Various nutritional, metabolic, immunologic and clinical parameters were observed on day 0 (baseline), day 3, 7, and 14. Analysis was performed by paired student-t test. Initial mean serum albumin and transferrin showed mild (trauma) to moderate (burn and cancer) degree of malnutrition. Significant improvement of nutritional parameters was seen at day 7 and 14 in trauma and burn patients.

Significant increase of total lymphocyte count (day 7, P < 0.01), CD4 + count (day 7, p < 0.01), CD8 + count (day 7, p < 0.0005 & day 14, p < 0.05), complement C3 (day 7, p < 0.005 day 14, p < 0.01), IgG (day 7, and 14, p < 0.0005), IgA (day 7, p < 0.0005 & day 14, p < 0.05), in all patients. C-reactive protein decreased significantly on day 7 (p < 0.0005) and day 14 (p < 0.005). 3 cases of burn wound infection, one case of UTI and one case of sepsis were observed. Two cases of hyperglycemia in burn, 3 cases of hyperbilirubinemia in trauma, 10 cases of elevated LFT (5 trauma/5 burn), and one case of hyponatremia in cancer patients were observed. Two cases of nausea, 4 cases of vomiting, 5 cases of diarrhea (< 3 times/day), 2 cases of abdominal cramp, 1 case of distension were observed.

The feeding of IMMUNE FORMULA was well tolerated and significant improvement was observed in nutritional and immunologic parameters as in other immunoenhancing diets. Further clinical trials of prospective double-blind randomized design are necessary to address the so that the necessity of using immunonutrition in critically ill patients will be clarified.