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Clinical nutrition, enteral and parenteral nutrition

Quality and safety impact on the provision of parenteral nutrition through introduction of a nutrition support team



Parenteral nutrition (PN) should be provided to the malnourished patient if enteral feeding is insufficient or unsafe. A nutrition support team (NST) may improve PN services. We compared the use and complications of hospital PN before and after the implementation of an NST.


All inpatients referred for PN outside of the intensive care unit and the intestinal failure unit were prospectively included from 2009 to 2012. The NST was introduced in 2010. Quality improvement methodology was applied.


In 2009, a mean of 16 (limits of normal variation 4–28) patients were referred for PN each month. After introduction of the NST, this rose to 26 (10–42) referrals per month. The percentage of referrals where PN was not initiated increased from 5.3% in 2009 to 10.1% in 2012 (P=0.03). This increase was restricted to teams that infrequently referred for PN, and enteral nutrition could replace PN in 31 of 51 patients (61%) as compared with 8 of 32 (25%) patients referred from teams that frequently referred for PN (P=0.001). The frequency of PN started owing to an insufficient oral or enteral intake decreased from 11% to 3% (P=0.01). The catheter-related bloodstream infection rate dropped from 6.7 to 0.7 episodes per 1000 catheter days (P<0.001).


Introduction of an NST increased both the total PN use and the percentage of referrals where enteral nutrition could replace PN. Medical specialty influenced the referral pattern and the likelihood that a referral resulted in PN being initiated. Safety of PN catheters improved significantly following NST introduction.

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We thank Dr Aram Rudenski.

Author Contributions

CH analysed the data and wrote the first manuscript draft. KF took part in data collection and analysis. ED participated in data collection and analysed SPC charts. BB, HL and CF collected most data and discussed data analysis. PP took part in data collection and data interpretation. SL conceived the study and took part in data interpretation. All authors discussed data analysis and manuscript drafts. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to C L Hvas.

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Hvas, C., Farrer, K., Donaldson, E. et al. Quality and safety impact on the provision of parenteral nutrition through introduction of a nutrition support team. Eur J Clin Nutr 68, 1294–1299 (2014).

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