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Lancet. 2006 Apr 1;367(9516):1101-11.

Parenteral nutrition in adult inpatients with functioning gastrointestinal tracts: assessment of outcomes.

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Methodist Research Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine, 1812 North Capitol Avenue, IN 46202, USA.


Malnutrition is a common comorbidity that places inpatients at risk of complications, infections, long length of stay, higher costs, and increased mortality. Thus, nutrition support has become an important therapeutic adjunctive to the care of these patients. For patients unable to feed themselves, nutrition can be delivered via the parenteral or enteral routes. The formulations used to deliver nutrients and the route of nutrient delivery, absorption, and processing differ substantially between parenteral and enteral nutrition. Over the past two decades, many randomised clinical trials have assessed the effects of parenteral versus enteral nutrition on outcomes (ie, complications, infections, length of stay, costs, mortality) in diverse inpatient populations. From a search of medical publications, studies were selected that assessed important clinical outcomes of parenteral versus enteral feeding or intravenous fluids in patients with trauma/burn injuries, surgery, cancer, pancreatic disease, inflammatory bowel disease, critical illness, liver failure, acute renal failure, and organ transplantation. Our goal was to determine the optimum route of feeding in these patient groups. The available evidence lends support to the use of enteral over parenteral feeding in inpatients with functioning gastrointestinal tracts.

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