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Why would my child need total parenteral nutrition?

Angela Lemond
Nutrition & Dietetics
Total parental nutrition (TPN) is nutrition provided intravenously (through the veins). Although oral or enteral nutrition is the preferred method, TPN is initiated when the digestive system is not working normally for a various health reasons. Registered Dietitians (RDs) specially trained in nutrition support should be part of the healthcare team when TPN is initiated. RDs will recommend an order that supplies the correct amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat (delivered in amino acids, dextrose and lipids, respectively) along with micronutrients that are appropriate for age, gender and diagnosis as some of myriad of considerations.
Your child would need total parenteral nutrition (TPN) if she's unable to eat normally -- for instance, if she must be sedated for a prolonged period of time or has had part of her stomach removed. TPN is a method of feeding children (and adults) by delivering liquid nutrients intravenously -- through a needle into a vein. Until there's a way to feed your youngster by mouth, doctors use this method.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.