A warning alert has been issued on the risk of harm and death from infusing total parenteral nutrition too rapidly in babies.
- Patient Safety Alert – Risk of severe harm and death from infusing total parenteral nutrition too rapidly in babies
Total parenteral nutrition (TPN, also known as PN) is a method of providing nutrition directly into the bloodstream to those unable to absorb nutrients from the food they eat. In babies its use is often temporary as part of a planned programme of nutrition to supplement milk feeds in those too immature to suckle or too sick to receive milk feeds as a result of intestinal conditions.
The rate at which TPN is administered to a baby is crucial: if infused too fast there is a risk of fluid overload, potentially leading to coagulopathy, liver damage and impaired pulmonary function as a result of fat overload syndrome.
All organisations providing NHS funded-care where TPN is administered to neonates and young babies must ensure an action plan is underway to reduce the risk of harm to babies through TPN administration.