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J Pain Symptom Manage. 1997 Feb;13(2):104-11.

The role of total parenteral nutrition for patients with irreversible bowel obstruction secondary to gynecological malignancy.

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  • 1Prince of Wales and Associated Hospitals Palliative Care Service, Department of Palliative Care, Alfred Hospital, Prahran, Victoria, Australia.


Two patients received total parenteral nutrition (TPN) to manage irreversible bowel obstruction secondary to gynecological malignancy. The use of TPN prolonged their lives considerably, but also led to complications, both from the TPN and from the natural progression of the cancers. Although TPN is increasingly considered as a possible treatment for selected patients with malignant bowel obstruction who are not suitable for surgery, the literature regarding this practice is conflicting. It should be considered only in those patients with good performance status, and then after careful attention to not only the likely medical and symptomatic outcomes, but also the ethical implications of such a management strategy.

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