Intravenous infusion of a medium-chain triglyceride-enriched lipid emulsion

Crit Care Med. 1988 Dec;16(12):1183-90. doi: 10.1097/00003246-198812000-00003.


There has been much interest in the parenteral use of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) as a noncarbohydrate energy source. This study examines the effects of infusion iv into postabsorptive normal subjects with three doses (0.5, 1.0, 1.5 g/kg.15 h) of an emulsion containing 56% MCT and 44% long-chain triglyceride (LCT) and comparing its metabolic effect with infusions of normal saline (NS) and an emulsion containing LCT alone. There were significant increases in serum beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate 5 and 15 h after the start of the MCT-LCT infusions. Increases were seen only after 15 h of NS, while none was observed during LCT alone. Triglycerides were increased in a dose-related fashion with MCT-LCT and were increased even further with LCT alone. Glycerol increased in a dose-related fashion both during the MCT-LCT and LCT infusion beginning immediately (0.5 h) after the start of the infusion. With NS infusion, glycerol increased significantly only after 15 h of infusion. The MCT-LCT mixture and the highest LCT dose resulted in a significant (12%) increase in oxygen consumption after 5 h of infusion. There was no difference in oral glucose tolerance between the various infusions. Infusion of MCT results in significant ketogenesis and more study is needed to determine its clinical utility.

MeSH terms

  • Acetoacetates / blood
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose
  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous / administration & dosage*
  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydroxybutyrates / blood
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Triglycerides / administration & dosage*
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Triglycerides / pharmacology


  • Acetoacetates
  • Blood Glucose
  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous
  • Hydroxybutyrates
  • Insulin
  • Triglycerides
  • acetoacetic acid