What is parenteral nutrition?

Parenteral nutrition (PN) is the intravenous infusion of nutrients directly into the systemic circulation, bypassing the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.1 Administration of PN is usually reserved for situations in which no other means of providing nutrients is possible, which is especially important for critically ill patients. Supplemental PN provided to the critically ill receiving less than 60 percent of their energy target via the enteral route from day four after ICU admission typically result in a 30 percent relative risk reduction for nosocomial infections, less antibiotic days and earlier weaning from mechanical ventilation.2

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