The Use of Parenteral Nutrition and Disparities in Its Allocation Following Traumatic Injury

Laura Gorenshtein, Harold Leraas*, Anthony Eze, Stephanie Lumpkin, Chinecherem Chime, Doreen Chang, Paul Wischmeyer, Suresh Agarwal, Joseph Fernandez, Krista L. Haines

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Severe traumatic injury requires rapid and extensive deployment of resources to save the lives of the critically injured. The sequelae of traumatic injuries frequently require extensive intervention obligating patients to a complicated recovery process devoid of meaningful nutrition. In this setting, parenteral nutrition (PN) is key in enabling appropriate wound healing, recovery, and rehabilitation. We sought to examine the use of PN in adult trauma management and to highlight any disparities in the utilization of PN in adult trauma patients. Methods: We queried the 2017-2019 Trauma Quality Improvement Program (TQIP) for adult patients (aged > 18 y) who sustained blunt or penetrating traumatic injuries and received PN as part of their hospitalization. We compared time to PN administration based on demographics. We then used a multivariable logistic regression model to identify factors associated with the use of PN. We hypothesized that PN would be less commonly employed in the uninsured and minority groups. Results: We identified 2,449,498 patients with sufficient data for analysis. Of these, 1831 patients were treated with PN. On univariate analysis, PN patients were more commonly male (74.7% PN versus 60.2% non-PN; P < 0.001). PN use was more frequent in the Black population (24.3% PN versus 15.5% non-PN; P < 0.001) and less frequent in the White population (72.7% PN versus 81.2% non-PN; P < 0.001). PN use was also much more common among patients covered by Medicaid. Penetrating trauma was over twice as common among PN recipients relative to non-PN patients (% PN versus % non-PN). PN patients had higher injury severity scores (ISSs), more intensive care unit days, longer hospitalizations, and increased mortality compared to non-PN patients. PN patients were half as likely to discharge home and twice as likely to discharge to a long-term care facility. Multivariable analysis including age, race, trauma mechanism, primary payer, and ISS, demonstrated an association of PN use with increasing age (OR 1.01, P < 0.001), cases of penetrating trauma (odds ratio [OR], 2.47; P < 0.001), and patients with high ISS (OR, 0.1.06; P < 0.001). There was decreased use in Uninsured patient (OR, 0.54; P < 0.001). Conclusions: PN use following traumatic injury is rarely required. Patients treated with PN typically have a resource-intense hospital course. More severe injuries, penetrating trauma, and increased age are more likely to result in PN use. Variations in PN use are apparent based on insurance payer, further examination into allocation of hospital and intensive care resources, as it pertains to patient socioeconomic status, is warranted in light of these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-127
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Health services research
  • Surgical nutrition
  • Trauma surgery


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