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Br J Surg. 1994 Jan;81(1):66-70.

Peripheral versus central intravenous nutrition: comparison of two delivery systems.

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  • 1University of Sydney Department of Surgery, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia.


Forty-six surgical patients who required intravenous nutrition (IVN) were randomly allocated to receive complete IVN by a peripheral (n = 23) or central (n = 23) venous delivery system. The peripheral IVN system combined a fine-bore silicone catheter with lipid-based nutrient solutions whereas the central system used a conventional glucose-based nutrient regimen and a single-lumen central venous catheter. The incidence of catheter complications and the complication-free system function over time were compared. Problems of venous access were not observed with peripheral IVN but occurred with one central catheterization. Three patients with central venous catheters developed bacteraemia but only one incident was thought to be catheter related (bacterial translocation). There were no such episodes with peripheral IVN. Peripheral catheterization was not associated with infective phlebitis, although late-onset chemical phlebitis occurred on four occasions after a mean(s.e.m.) time of 22.8(6.1) days, representing a daily risk of phlebitis of 0.009. There was no significant difference in the probability of complication-free system function with time between peripheral and central IVN (P = 0.14). The fine-bore silicone catheter peripheral IVN delivery system resulted in long-term phlebitis-free infusion for periods that were similar to those of single-lumen central catheterization by life-table analysis.

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