Send to

Choose Destination
Nutr Clin Pract. 2004 Jun;19(3):255-62.

Indications for administration of parenteral nutrition in adults.

Author information

Department of Human Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, 60612, USA.



Who benefits from parenteral nutrition (PN) has been the subject of much debate and 4 recent meta-analyses.


We reviewed the 4 meta-analyses that examined the prospective, randomized, clinical trials (PRCT) that compared PN with no nutrition support (standard care) for design, study population, outcomes evaluated, and results.


Overall, a total of 113 PRCT were included in the 4 meta-analyses; however, only 4 studies were included in all of them. Despite the differences in populations studied and outcomes evaluated, some similarities emerged: (1) PN does not affect mortality; (2) PN does not reduce complications in normally nourished patients; (3) in malnourished patients, PN demonstrated a trend for reduced infections and complication rates; and (4) PN reduced postoperative complications in patients having surgery for cancer of the esophagus or stomach.


PN does not appear to be beneficial for most hospitalized patients. Among those with malnutrition or with upper gastrointestinal cancer, benefits may exist; however, these were influenced by quality of the study and year of publication.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center