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Parenteral Nutrition: Principles, Indications And Complications

Parenteral Nutrition: Principles, Indications and Complications


Food is an essential source of energy for the human body. Not only does the human body requires food energy to survive, it is also compulsory for normal bodily functions. It is also interesting to note that there is not a single source of dietary component which can fulfill all the nutritional requirements of a normal or average human body; rather a combination of fat, protein, carbohydrates and vitamins are mandatory for normal physiological needs (Krebs-Smith et al., 1992). Despite the importance of food energy to every human, it is quite often the case where a human body is rendered incapable of accepting food intake and digesting nutrients. Physicians and doctors then resort to parenteral nutrition as an alternative method of providing food energy through an intravenous mechanism. This research paper will extensively discuss the principles, indications and complications pertaining to parenteral nutrition (Bozzetti, 2006).

Table of Contents




Overview of Parenteral Nutrition5


Gastrointestinal Disorders6


Short Bowel Syndrome7


Liver failure7

Risks of Infection8

Blood Clotting8



Parenteral Nutrition: Principles, Indications and Complications


The field of medicine or healing is not new for the human mind. What initially started as magic, spiritualism and divinity; has gradually evolved into a field of rationality over the course of centuries.

The medicine landscape was expanded in 1960’s by the official discovery of providing patients with complete nutrient fluids and substances intravenously. However, the breakthrough of providing nutrients other than the normal oral feeding method is the realization of a nearly four hundred year old dream (Bozzetti et al., 2006).

The dawn of parenteral nutrition was assisted by the discovery of the circulatory system in 1628 by William Harvey (Bozzetti et al., 2006). This finding compelled Sir Christopher Wren in 1658 to analyze the effects of initial infusion of fluids, including opium, wine, ale and oil to animals, especially dogs (Bozzetti et al., 2006).

The successful introduction of parenteral nutrition in hospitals was aided by a thorough understanding of the metabolic structure of the body. The understanding of a human body’s response to electrolytes and nutritional fluids; as well as the body’s response to various diseases, including trauma served as a significant milestone in developing parenteral nutrition (Bozzetti et al., 2006).

Another noteworthy development was the discovery of the chemical structure of the human body and the biological effects of the various nutritional fluids in the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century (Bozzetti et al., 2006).

The development of parenteral nutrition was also partially due to the complications faced by patients. Before the advent, of parenteral nutrition, patients often struggled to fight against inadequate nutritional intake and, as a result, lost their lives due to starvation. It is also essential to note that new born babies, who were born with deformed internal organs or digestive complications, often succumb to death, thus increasing the infant mortality rates (Dudrick 2009).

Physicians and clinicians were principally aware of the negative impact of malnourishment, but were psychologically restricted by the widespread dogma. As is the case with every technological and medical innovation, ...