Parenteral nutrition (PN) is a life-sustaining therapy for hundreds of thousands of people who have severe impairment of gastrointestinal function. Trace elements are a small but very important part of PN that can be overlooked during busy practice. Serious complications can result from trace element deficiencies and toxicities, and this is especially problematic during times of product shortages. Practical information on parenteral trace element use can be gleaned from case reports, some retrospective studies, and very few randomized controlled trials. A general knowledge of trace element metabolism and excretion, deficiency and toxicity symptoms, products, optimal dosages, and strategies for supplementation, restriction, and monitoring will equip practitioners to provide optimal care for their patients who depend on PN.
Keywords: home parenteral nutrition; micronutrients; nutritional support; parenteral nutrition; trace elements.