Preoperative total parenteral nutrition is not associated with mucosal atrophy or bacterial translocation in humans

Br J Surg. 1995 Dec;82(12):1663-7. doi: 10.1002/bjs.1800821226.


Concerns have recently been expressed at suggestions that postoperative sepsis may be more common in patients who have received preoperative total parenteral nutrition (TPN). The mechanism suggested for this is that TPN causes intestinal mucosal atrophy leading to increased bacterial translocation from the gut as a source of systemic sepsis. This hypothesis was examined in 203 patients who had an elective laparotomy, 28 of whom required at least 10 days of preoperative TPN. Neither mucosal atrophy nor bacterial translocation was more common in parenterally fed patients than in enterally fed controls. In humans theoretical concerns about the adverse effects of TPN on intestinal integrity are unfounded.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Atrophy / etiology
  • Bacterial Infections / etiology*
  • Bacterial Translocation
  • Critical Illness
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parenteral Nutrition, Total / adverse effects*
  • Preoperative Care / adverse effects*