In her clinical role Ella Segaran works on the general / trauma ICU as the advanced critical care dietitian at St. Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London.  She is passionate about clinical care, education and research and about raising the profile of nutrition in our patients.  Ella says that she is lucky to have a full-time ICU job plan. This  means that she is completely integrated into the critical care team and able to work all day with front-line medical, nursing, and AHP colleagues, in a way that is rare in her field. 

Ella has substantial research background, and was a core member of the CALORIES trial team as investigator and NEJM co-author. She is currently investigating fasting practices in UK ICUs.

Ella has represented Critical Care Dietitians in a number of national leadership roles including the Critical Care Leadership Forum (CCLF) and the nurse and AHP committee of the UK Intensive Care Society (ICS).  She has co-authored the dietetic section of the joint ICS/ FICM Standards for ICU and Guidelines for Provision of Intensive Care (GPICS) as well as critical care and traumatic brain injury chapters in dietetic text books. Ella was the Chair of the British Dietetic Association (BDA) Critical Care Specialist Group for the last 4 years.  Ella has ventured on to social media to champion critical care nutrition and can be found on Twitter at @ESegaran.

Ella has lectured extensively, locally, nationally and internationally on all aspects of critical care nutrition and is currently an honorary lecturer at Imperial College and North West London University. In June 2016 Ella was awarded an IBEX award from the BDA for services to critical care dietetics.

1.    What are your key areas of interest and research?

The nutritional management of critically ill patients in particular management of patients with obesity.

2.    What are the major challenges in your field?
  • Identifying which patients will benefit most from nutrition support whilst on ICU
  • Finding ways to optimise nutrition delivery of critically ill patients
  • Not knowing what the optimal energy and protein targets are for our patients
  • Not knowing whether nutrition support really improves outcome

3.    What is your top management tip?

Don’t underestimate the power of good effective audit to help identify areas for improvement.

4.    What would you single out as a career highlight?
  • Professionally: Co-authoring the GPICS standards for ICU dietitians (this was a great opportunity to raise awareness of my profession and showcase the contribution that dietitians can make to the nutritional management of critically ill patients.
  • Academically: Being a trial investigator for CALORIES trial and gaining a New England Journal of Medicine publication.

5.    If you had not chosen this career path you would have become a…?

6.    What are your personal interests outside of work?
Food, exercise, travel, my cats and the love of a good man.

7. Your favourite quote?
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well” - Virginia Woolf.


Harvey SE, Parrott F, Harrison DA, Bear DE, Segaran E, Beale R, Bellingan G, Leonard R, Mythen MG, Rowan KM; CALORIES Trial Investigators (2014) Trial of the route of early nutritional support in critically ill adults.  N Engl J Med. 2014 Oct 30;371(18):1673-84. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1409860. Epub 2014 Oct 1.

Segaran E (2016) Dietitians in critical care - a fundamental and evolving role. ICU Management & Practice, 16(1): 52-4.

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