Essential Fatty Acid Status in Surgical Infants Receiving Parenteral Nutrition With a Composite Lipid Emulsion: A Case Series

JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2019 Feb;43(2):305-310. doi: 10.1002/jpen.1311. Epub 2018 May 30.


Infants requiring prolonged parenteral nutrition (PN) may receive intravenous (IV) lipid in the form of soybean oil, fish oil, or a composite lipid emulsion (CLE) (i.e., SMOFlipid®). Soybean oil lipid-dose restriction is a popular method of treating and reducing the risk of intestinal failure-associated liver disease (IFALD) that may influence dosing strategies of other IV fat emulsions. Here we present 4 infants receiving PN with SMOFlipid® as their IV lipid source and examine trends in essential fatty-acid status, triglycerides, and dosing strategy. The infants on restricted doses of CLE developed biochemical essential fatty-acid deficiency (EFAD) that resolved with a dosage increase or by transition to a pure fish-oil lipid emulsion. Three of the 4 infants originally prescribed CLE were diagnosed with IFALD and started a pure fish-oil lipid emulsion after treatable causes of cholestasis were excluded. One of the 4 infants presented with hypertriglyceridemia that resolved upon transition to pure fish-oil lipid emulsion. Misapplication of lipid restriction protocols to CLE regimens render infants at risk for EFAD. CLE should be dosed within recommended ranges to prevent EFAD. Restricted protocols warrant close monitoring of essential fatty-acid status in infants receiving prolonged PN, particularly in those with minimal or no enteral intake. Hypertriglyceridemia and cholestasis are known adverse effects of CLE and require monitoring.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous / administration & dosage
  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Acids, Essential / blood*
  • Fatty Acids, Essential / deficiency*
  • Female
  • Fish Oils / administration & dosage
  • Fish Oils / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Parenteral Nutrition / methods*
  • Postoperative Care / methods*
  • Soybean Oil / administration & dosage
  • Soybean Oil / pharmacology


  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous
  • Fatty Acids, Essential
  • Fish Oils
  • Soybean Oil