Alternatives to Oral Nutrition

Alternative routes for nutrition must be considered in patients with fungal growth in the oral cavity, inflammation of the gums and oral mucosa, open sores, difficulty in swallowing, and other debilitating diseases of the oral-pharyngeal region and/or gastrointestinal tract. These alternatives include parenteral (PN) and enteral nutrition. PN replaces essential nutritional requirements via intravenous (IV) access. The IV may be placed in a peripheral vein or in a large central vein, depending on the medical condition of the patient and the choice of nutrition replacement therapy. The cost for PN is high, and there is a risk of severe infection; therefore it is not recommended except for brief treatment measures during known episodic cases of acute weight loss and in the absence of gastrointestinal (GI) function.

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