Parenteral Nutrition_ What It Is, Its Uses, and Its Types

Ever heard of someone getting their nutrition from a tube? It's a thing, and it's called parenteral nutrition.

What Is Parenteral Nutrition

Parenteral nutrition, or 'PN' for short, is a form of nutrition that bypasses the normal route of digestion (gastrointestinal tract) and is administered directly into a vein. The nutrients are delivered directly into the body through an intravenous (IV) line. It's called 'parenteral' because it is administered outside of the body's natural processes. PN is commonly used in hospital settings to treat malnourishment or to provide nutrition to patients with an inability to absorb nutrients from food but it can also be administered at home through a professional healthcare worker.

PN can be administered through a catheter placed into a vein or artery, or through a specialised port. The exact composition of the solution will depend on the individual’s needs and can be tailored to meet their specific requirements.

In general, the nutrient solution provided through parenteral nutrition usually comes from a combination of carbohydrates, amino acids, lipids, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and other trace elements, as well as electrolytes and water. It is typically administered in the form of a continuous infusion, although intermittent infusions and bolus injections are also sometimes used.

When Is Parenteral Nutrition Used

PN is often used in cases where the patient is unable to digest food normally, either because the digestive system is not working properly or because the patient can't eat. In these cases, PN can provide much-needed vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to the patient.

Parenteral nutrition can be used to supplement or replace food intake for up to several weeks or months at a time. This can be helpful for individuals who are recovering from surgery or illness or are unable to take in enough nutrients due to medical conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, cystic fibrosis, chronic renal failure, severe pancreatitis, gastrointestinal disorders, Crohn’s disease, or severe burns. It can also be used to provide nutrition to premature infants, malnutrition in elderly patients and people with eating disorders.

What Are the Types of Parenteral Nutrition

There are two main types of parenteral nutrition: Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) and Partial Parenteral Nutrition (PPN). TPN is the full nutritional solution that contains all of the nutrients the individual needs. PPN is a partial solution that contains some of the nutrients that the individual needs.

Total Parenteral Nutrition

Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) is typically administered via a central venous catheter, which is a tube that is inserted into a vein in the chest or arm. This allows the nutrients to be delivered directly into the bloodstream. TPN solutions can also be administered via a peripheral venous catheter, which is a tube that is inserted into a vein in the arm or hand.

TPN is usually prescribed for patients with a severe condition, or for those who are unable to consume any food. It is typically given in an intensive care setting and is administered continuously over a period of weeks or months.

Partial Parenteral Nutrition

Partial Parenteral Nutrition (PPN) is typically administered via a peripheral venous catheter, which is a tube that is inserted into a vein in the arm or hand. This allows the delivery of some of the nutrients, usually carbohydrates and proteins, directly into the bloodstream.

PPN is usually prescribed for patients who are able to consume some food but require the additional nutrients and energy provided by PN. It is typically given in a hospital setting and is administered on a regular basis, usually once or twice a day.


Parenteral nutrition is a powerful tool that can help many people, from those with short-term illnesses to those with long-term health issues. It can provide essential nutrients and help people gain weight and maintain their health. Depending on the patient's condition, different types of parenteral nutrition can be used, ranging from total parenteral nutrition to partial parenteral nutrition. So if you ever find your loved one in a situation where you need some extra nutrition, then parenteral nutrition is an option to consider.

Are you looking for a reliable home TPN (total parenteral nutrition) provider? Then Vickycares is the best option. We offer a comprehensive range of services for patients who need TPN. We provide specialised support for patients and their families, as well as expert advice and guidance on nutrition, lifestyle, and medical care. Our team is highly experienced in TPN and can provide personalised care tailored to the individual’s needs. Let us ensure that the patient is receiving the best possible care. Contact us today to get started!