Enteral Versus Parenteral Nutrition: Use in Adult Patients Undergoing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

Mary K. Reese, RD; Susan Hewlings, PhD, RD


Background: Pretransplantation chemotherapy and side effects of transplantation can cause reduced oral intake, contributing to malnutrition.

Objectives: The aim was to evaluate the current evidence comparing enteral nutrition (EN) to parenteral nutrition in the adult hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) population.

Methods: A systematic review was conducted in PubMed/MEDLINE®, CINAHL® Plus With Full Text (EBSCO), and Cochrane Library and produced 238 articles. Four articles met inclusion criteria.

Findings: Three studies were observational; one was a randomized trial that ended prematurely. Outcomes included tolerance of EN, incidences of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), rate of infection, and mortality. This limited information suggests that EN may have a protective mechanism against advanced stages of GVHD and contribute to decreased risk of infection-related death.

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