Transpyloric Enteral Nutrition Reduces the Complication Rate and Cost in the Critically Ill Child

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Studies in adults have shown that transpyloric enteral nutrition (TEN) is useful in certain patients who cannot tolerate oral or gastric feeding. This study was conducted to compare TEN with parenteral nutrition (PN) in critically ill pediatric patients.


A retrospective descriptive study conducted in the pediatric intensive care unit of a tertiary pediatric referral center. All patients in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) receiving PN and/or TEN from January 1993 through December 1996 were included in the study.


Two hundred forty patients (14.6% of all patients admitted to the PICU) received PN and/or TEN (168 exclusively PN, 21 exclusively TEN, and 51 a combined regimen). The number of patients receiving PN and duration of PN declined significantly from 1993 (65 patients, 703 days) through 1996 (48 patients, 395 days). This was mirrored by the increase in the number of patients receiving TEN and duration of TEN. The incidence of complications (hyperglycemia, hypertriglyceridemia, and cholestasis) was higher in the PN group. There was no difference in the incidence of hospital-acquired infection or mortality between the two groups. The cost of TEN was lower than that of PN, with an estimated annual saving of $5,422.


Transpyloric enteral nutrition is a suitable method of nutritional support for critically ill pediatric patients. It has fewer complications and a lower cost than PN.

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