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Nutr Clin Pract. 2013 Apr;28(2):209-17. doi: 10.1177/0884533612468602. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

Hallmarks in the history of enteral and parenteral nutrition: from antiquity to the 20th century.

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School of Dietetics & Human Nutrition, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.


Parenteral nutrition (PN) and enteral nutrition (EN) have a very long history, emerging in the ancient world and developing throughout the common epoch. This history dates back as far as 3500 bc to the ancient Egyptians, Indians, and Chinese. Their medical practices were the first reports of enteral feeding therapy, provided via rectum with enemas of wine, milk, whey, wheat, and barley. Hippocrates and Plato, in ancient Greece, were the first personalities to emphasize the importance of diet on health. In the following centuries, Erasistratus and Herophilus described the first notion of the circulatory system, and Oribasius and Celsus described the role of nutrition and disease. There is a great historical gap between the times of Galen (2nd century), who elaborated on the circulatory system; Ibn Zuhr (12th century), who constructed the first model of PN; and Capivacceus (16th century), who placed the first tube for EN. The 17th-19th centuries showed major developments in modern nutrition elements. Steps toward artificial nutrition began in 1628 with the detailed description of blood circulation by William Harvey; however, most of the advances in enteral and parenteral feeding techniques, solutions, and formulas took place in the 20th century. Over the last decade of the 20th century, research focused on metabolic control, multitude formulas, timing and the combination of EN and PN for intensive care patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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