Hyperalimentation is a procedure in which nutrients and vitamins
are given to a person in liquid form through a vein. It is only given to
someone who cannot get nutrients from food.
Who is a candidate for the procedure?
Hyperalimentation is used for people with health problems that prevent
them from absorbing enough nutrients through their stomachs. It is also used when a person is severely malnourished and cannot take in food by mouth.
Hyperalimentation might be used:
before surgery if the person is
malnourished. This can be caused by:
congenital abnormalities causing disorders of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, such as esophageal atresia
esophageal stricture, which is a narrowing of the esophagus
esophageal cancer or stomach cancer
after surgery if a person is not recovering as quickly as expected or has complications relating to the surgery. This can be caused by:
prolonged ileus, a severe blockage in the intestines
short bowel syndrome, which occurs after someone has large amount of small intestines removed
a fistula, an abnormal passageway between two internal organs, or leading from an internal organ to the surface of the body
peritonitis, a severe
infection in the abdominal cavity
if a person has inflammatory bowel disease, including:
if a person cannot eat or is unable to absorb nutrients from food. This
may be caused by:
cancer of the GI tract, such as
chemotherapy or radiation therapy
major trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident
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an eating disorder called anorexia nervosa
How is the procedure performed?
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rather than an IV line in an arm, must be used for this procedure because the solution is highly concentrated.
The hyperalimentation solution is tailored to the needs of the person, and contains:
glucose, or sugar
electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium
What happens right after the procedure?
Hyperalimentation uses a pump to closely regulate the amount of
solution given. The person may receive it at a constant rate, or only for
several hours at night. Close monitoring is needed. The healthcare provider
must check the person's weight, blood
sugars, and electrolytes levels in the blood. The provider must check the site of the central line often for signs of infection.
What happens later at home?
A nutritional support team will be involved with the use of
hyperalimentation. The person's nutritional status is studied and his or her nutritional needs calculated. The solution is changed when the persons needs change. For instance, if a person is taking in food or fluids by mouth, he or she will need fewer calories from the solution. The family will be taught how to administer the hyperalimentation and care for the person if he or she is to receive care at home.
What are the potential complications after the procedure?
Complications of hyperalimentation may include:
too much glucose in the blood
too little glucose in the blood
nausea and headache
Author:Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
Editor:Smith, Elizabeth, BA
Reviewer:Melissa Sanders, PharmD
Williams, Sue, Nutrition and Diet Therapy, 7th edition, 1993
Clinical Nutrition: Enteral and Tube Feeding, 2nd edition, 1990
Mosby's Clinical Nursing, 4th edition, 1994
Critical Care Nursing: A Holistic Approach, 6th edition, 1990