Refeeding syndrome: A serious, potentially fatal, complication of nutritional restoration. Major causes include low phosphorus blood levels following intake of foods high in calories or glucose. Phosphorous depletion causes abnormalities in the cardiorespiratory system, which left untreated can be fatal. Symptoms also develop in response to changes in potassium and magnesium levels. Rapid changes in intake can place excessive strain on the impaired heart which is then unable to maintain adequate circulation. Symptoms include: development of edema, increased liver function tests, hypophosphatemia, cardiac failure, central nervous system depression. Medical and dietary guidelines used to prevent refeeding syndrome include graded refeeding.
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