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Keywords:

  • total parenteral nutrition;
  • malnutrition;
  • abdominal/pelvic irradiation;
  • chemotherapy;
  • weight loss;
  • children

Abstract

A prospective randomized clinical trial was undertaken to test the efficacy of total parenteral nutrition (TPN) among previously untreated children receiving abdominal/pelvic irradiation with or without adjuvant chemotherapy who were at risk for weight loss, malnutrition, and complications from treatment. Children were evaluated by weight/height determinations, anthropomorphic measurements, and laboratory studies. TPN was associated with an improved nutritional status during therapy as compared with control patients on ad libitum intake. However, when TPN was discontinued, weight declined and there were no differences among treated and control patients detected at three-month follow-up. Likewise there was no obvious effect from TPN on tolerance to therapy in the adequately nourished child. TPN as initial supportive therapy should be reserved for those children who are malnourished or marginally malnourished at the time of presentation. Close nutritional assessment during treatment is essential since approximately 25% of children undergoing abdominal/pelvic radiotherapy with chemotherapy can be expected to become malnourished during an initial course of therapy.