Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN)

Treatment Overview

Sometimes your digestive system isn't able to process foods. Total parenteral nutrition (TPN) gives you liquid nutrition through a tube (catheter) inserted into a vein. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrate, and fats. The nutrients go directly into the blood. They don't go through the digestive tract.

You may need TPN if you:

  • Have an injury to or had part of your intestines removed.
  • Have a problem that makes it hard to eat and digest food. These problems include inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis) or pancreatitis.
  • Have had some medical treatments. TPN lets your intestines rest during healing.

You can have TPN for days, weeks, or as long as needed. When your body is able to digest food, your doctor will stop giving you TPN.

What to Expect

  • You won't feel any pain from the tube inside your body. The port may feel uncomfortable at first. But you will have less discomfort over time.
  • You aren't likely to feel hungry while you are having TPN.
  • The hospital staff will do all that they can to keep the tube and port sterile. This helps prevent infections.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: October 6, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Arvydas D. Vanagunas MD - Gastroenterology