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Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Feb;75(2):183-90.

Nutritional and metabolic support in patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Medicine, University La Sapienza Rome, Italy.


Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) is a sophisticated procedure consisting of the administration of high-dose chemoradiotherapy followed by intravenous infusion of hemopoietic stem cells to reestablish marrow function when bone marrow is damaged or defective. BMT is used in the treatment of solid tumors, hematologic diseases, and autoimmune disorders. Artificial nutrition, total parenteral nutrition in particular, is provided to patients undergoing BMT to minimize the nutritional consequences of both the conditioning regimens (eg, mucositis of the gastrointestinal tract) and complications resulting from the procedure (eg, graft versus host disease and venoocclusive disease of the liver). Although artificial nutrition is now recognized as the standard of care for BMT patients, defined guidelines for the use of artificial nutrition in this clinical setting are lacking. During the past 2 decades, artificial nutrition in BMT patients has moved from simple supportive care to adjunctive therapy because of the possible benefits, not strictly nutritional, of specialized nutritional intervention. Although data exist documenting the beneficial role of special nutrients, such as lipids and glutamine, in the management of BMT recipients, the results obtained to date are controversial. The reasons for this controversy may reside in the heterogeneity of the patients studied and of the study designs. This review focuses on the need to correctly identify the different patterns of BMT to achieve reproducible and reliable data, which may in turn be used to devise precise guidelines for the use of specialized artificial nutrition in BMT patients.

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