Parenteral nutrition provides no added value over enteral feeding in patients with a functioning gastrointestinal tract and is associated with an increased risk of complications. It is also more expensive (15,16). Parenteral nutrition is only indicated when enteral nutrition is contraindicated, and this usually occurs when the gastrointestinal tract is either non-functioning or not accessible. The decision to instigate PN should ideally be made by the clinical team with consumer involvement if practical.
Parenteral nutrition is associated with hyperglycaemia in at least 15% of patients (7). The presence of hyperglycaemia in patients receiving PN is important as it is associated with a marked increase in infection risk. Intravenous catheter-related infections are five times higher in patients receiving central PN (5), and this figure is higher still in the presence of hyperglycaemia.
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