What is PN?
Parenteral nutrition (PN) is a way to provide nourishment to patients who are unable to absorb nutrients through their digestive system. Protein, carbohydrates, fat, minerals and electrolytes, vitamins, and other trace elements are delivered intravenously so the nutrients go directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the gut.
Who uses PN?
Patients who require PN can be either critically ill or chronically ill – these include adults as well as children, particularly newborns.
In critically ill patients, conditions or diseases affecting the bowel’s ability to process food taken by mouth may require PN. People in intensive care may also be candidates for PN if their digestive system is not working optimally as a result of decreased intestinal function.
In chronically ill patients, conditions such as cancer, Crohn’s disease, short bowel syndrome, ischemic bowel disease, or abnormal bowel function may interrupt normal bowel function for a long time or forever, requiring PN.1