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Long-term parenteral nutrition and risk of pulmonary embolism

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a complication of parenteral nutrition (PN) with a prevalence of 35% in children” Pichler et al (2016).


BACKGROUND & AIMS: Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a complication of parenteral nutrition (PN) with a prevalence of 35% in children. In 2003 new intravenous lipid emulsions (ILEs) with MCT, olive and/or fish oil in addition to soybean oil were introduced. The aim was to compare the incidence of PE before and after introduction.

METHODS: 327 surveillance ventilation-perfusion (V/Q) scintigraphies from 68 children aged 0.3-15 years, treated with PN from 1993 to 2010, were retrospectively reviewed. Rate of PE/1000 central venous catheter (CVC) days, number of children with PE pre- and post-introduction of ILEs were compared. Multivariate analyses were performed for risk factors.

RESULTS: Twenty-two (32%) children (19/42 before 2003 and 3/26 after 2003, p = 0.007) had at least one episode of PE. Thirty seven (11%) episodes of PE were detected accounting for a mean of 0.2/1000 CVC days prior to 2003 and 0.05/1000 CVC days after 2003, p = 0.04. Regression analysis indicated that higher content of ILE/infusion (p = 0.045) and frequency of ILE of >3 nights/week were associated with more PE (p = 0.001). New ILEs were associated with lower risk (p = 0.003).

CONCLUSION: With a four-fold fall in incidence with new ILE, PE remains a complication. We recommend 12-18 monthly surveillance with lung perfusion scan and anticoagulants if PE is diagnosed.


Pichler, J., Biassoni, L., Easty, M., Irastorza, I. and Hill, S. (2016) Reduced risk of pulmonary emboli in children treated with long-term parenteral nutrition. Clinical Nutrition. March 31st. .

doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2016.03.016.

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