TPN – Total Parenteral Nutrition

What Is TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition)?

Total parenteral nutrition is a form of feeding your body the nutrients it needs by bypassing your digestive system and feeding nutrient-rich liquid directly into your vein. TPN is normally administered through a large vein in your chest area under local anesthesia. Patients can use different types of and sizes of catheters depending on their condition or treatment length. After your catheter is in place, a chest x-ray is performed to ensure the catheter is in the right place. To prevent infections the outside tubing leading from the bag of solution to the catheter is changed daily. As well as the special dressings that cover the catheter.

When Is TPN Used?

Total parenteral nutrition is useful in several situations. Some of the most common reasons that TPN is used include:

  • Intestines are obstructed
  • Short Bowel Syndrome
  • Microvillus Inclusion Disease
  • Abnormal gastrointestinal connection
  • Patients don’t receive enough nutrition from eating
  • To allow your digestive system to rest and recover
  • Patients with severe burns
  • Patients going through chemotherapy or radiation
  • Malnourished patients before surgery
  • Patients on a transplant list
  • AIDS
  • Gastroparesis

What Is In The TPN Solution?

The combination of nutrients for each patient vary depending on condition, age, weight or height. Your TPN solution may contain:

  • Sugars (dextrose)
  • Protein
  • Fats
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Chloride
  • Phosphate
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Chromium
  • Vitamins
  • Insulin
  • Water

Most adults will be administered 2 liters of TPN solution daily. It is typically administered for 10 to 12 hours during the day, five to seven times a week or for 12 to 14 hours throughout the night.