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JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1991 Jan-Feb;15(1):71-4.

Infusion of total parenteral nutrition via the umbilical artery.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33606.


The administration of total parenteral nutrition through umbilical artery catheters in 48 neonates (birth weight 1.7 +/- 0.58 kg) was compared with administration via central venous catheters in 26 infants (birth weight 2.05 +/- 0.89 kg). There was no significant difference in the amount of calories delivered (72 +/- 12 vs 78 +/- 18 cal/kg/day) or in the mean daily weight gain (16.6 +/- 13.3 vs 18 +/- 13.9 g/day). The incidence of sepsis was significantly lower in the umbilical artery catheter group (10.4% vs 15.4%) but there was no significant difference in the rate of infection when adjustment was made for number of days of catheter life (1 per 224 days of catheter life in the umbilical artery group vs 1 per 199 days in the central venous catheter group). Other major complications included transient hypertension in 2 (4%) of the 48 umbilical artery catheter infants and in 1 (3.8%) of the central venous catheter group, aortic thrombosis in 1 (2%) of the 48 umbilical artery catheter infants and a tricuspid vegetation in 1 (3.8%) of the central venous catheter group. Results suggest that the umbilical artery is a reasonable route for the infusion of total parenteral nutrition in low birth weight infants who require arterial access for blood gas analysis. Use of the umbilical artery catheter for parenteral alimentation may avoid the need for surgical placement of central venous lines and the risk of the attendant complications. Nevertheless, safer routes and improved methods of infusion of parenteral infusion must continue to be developed.

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