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Nutrition through an Intravenous Line

Overview :

There are two types of IV, or parenteral, nutrition. Parenteral nutrition is that which is delivered through a system other than the digestive system. In this case, the nutrition is delivered through a vein. Partial parenteral nutrition (PPN) is given for short periods of time, to replace some of the nutrients required daily and only supplements a normal diet. Total parenteral nutrition (TPN) is given to someone who cannot eat anything and must receive all nutrients required daily through an intravenous line. Both of these types of nutrition can be performed in a medical facility or at the patient's home. Home parenteral nutrition (HPN) usually requires a central venous catheter, which must first be inserted in a fully equiped medical facility. After it is inserted, therapy can continue at home.

Basic IV solutions are sterile water with small amounts of sodium (salt) or dextrose (sugar) supplied in bottles or thick plastic bags that can hang on a stand mounted next to the patient's bed. Additional minerals, like potassium and calcium, vitamins, or drugs can be added to the IV solution by injecting them into the bottle or bag with a needle. These simple sugar and salt solutions can provide fluids, calories, and electrolytes necessary for short periods of time. If a patient requires intravenous feeding for more than a few days, additional nutrients like proteins and fats will be included. The amounts of each of the nutrients to be added will depend on the patient's age, medical condition, and particular nutritional requirements.

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