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Side effects of long term TPN

  : I have been on TPN thru a portacath for 11 months so far. I have been hospitalized for two infections(staff) in recent months. I know that next time the darn thing will be removed and I am told a new one will be inserted after a couple weeks. What are some other complications of this therapy? I'm always wanting to be prepared. Thanks for your help, DONNA:)
  Dear Donna,
  The complications of total parenteral nutrition are generally divided into two categories, namely, catheter related complications and metabolic complications. Catheter related complications include infection of the catheter and thrombosis or clotting of the catheter. These are best prevented by attention to good, sterile technique and flushing the catheter with heparin and saline with every use. On the other hand, even with the best technique these complications cannot always be avoided. The first step in treating catheter related infection is to try and save the catheter by treating with antibiotics. If the infection does not clear rapidly the catheter needs to be replaced (preferably at a different site). Thrombosis of the catheter can sometimes be treated with urokinase infusion. Metabolic complications include hypo or hyper glycemia (changes in blood sugar levels) or electrolyte disturbances. These are usually easily taken care of by adjusting the total parenteral nutrition formula as needed. Regular blood tests can help the nutrition support service order the right formula for you. I hope you find this information helpful.
  This response is being provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Always check with your personal physician when you have a question pertaining to your health.
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