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J Paediatr Child Health. 2002 Oct;38(5):433-7.

New approaches to parenteral nutrition in infants and children.

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Department of Gastroenterology & Clinical Nutrition, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.


Parenteral nutrition (PN) has become a mainstay in the treatment of children with intestinal failure or conditions that preclude enteral feeding. Estimated energy and protein requirements can usually be met, unless the patient is fluid volume restricted or glucose intolerant. Although PN is generally well tolerated, in some patients it is still associated with a significant morbidity. Complications include metabolic disturbances, venous access device infection or dysfunction, venous thrombosis and cholestatic liver disease. Patients need to be carefully monitored for evidence of micronutrient deficiencies or excesses. There is a close relationship between line sepsis and thrombosis. Strict aseptic technique is the key to preventing line infections. Recurrent sepsis and thrombosis may eventually lead to loss of venous access and may jeopardize the long-term delivery of PN. Chronic cholestatic liver disease is common in premature infants with gastrointestinal problems, recurrent sepsis and lack of enteral feeding. The aetiology is multifactorial. Early enteral feeding is the most effective strategy in preventing PN-associated liver disease. New specialized nutrient solutions and lipid emulsions promise improved clinical outcomes. However, long-term clinical data are not yet available in children. In recent years, nutrition support teams have improved clinical and economic outcomes by encouraging the appropriate use and monitoring of PN therapy. In patients with intestinal failure, parent-administered home PN has become an alternative to long-term hospitalization. Apart from a positive effect on the quality of life of patient and family, home PN is cost-effective and reduces the risk of nosocomial infections and catheter-related complications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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