Total parenteral nutrition (TPN) is a way for your child to get proper nutrition. This is done through a small, soft tube called a catheter. The catheter is inserted into a vein. This allows liquid nutrition to be put into your child’s blood vessels.
TPN is used when your child’s digestive tract can’t digest food. Or, TPN is used when your child can’t eat enough food to meet his or her nutritional needs. The catheter is put into the vein in the hospital. Then, you can give TPN to your child at home. A home care nurse can teach you how. You’ll also learn how to clean and care for the catheter site.
There are 2 main types of TPN lines used to give nutrition through the catheter:
Central line. This kind of line is often used for babies and very young children. The catheter is placed into a vein in the neck or chest. This allows nutrients to be delivered close to the large blood vessels of the heart. The catheter has openings (ports) to give nutrition and medicines as needed.
Peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line. This type of line is often placed into a vein in your child’s arm. The line is gently threaded through the vein up to the heart.
Call the healthcare provider right away if your child has any of the following:
Tubing that splits or leaks, or that comes out part way or all the way
Fluid leaking from the catheter insertion site
Fever over 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by the healthcare provider
Skin or whites of eyes that turn yellow (jaundice)
Bulging of skin around catheter site
Bleeding around catheter site
Skin pulling away from catheter site
Pain, redness, swelling, or warmth at catheter site
Swelling of the hand, arm, back, or torso
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