A regimen of parenteral alimentation for infants was designed to eliminate as many factors responsible for infection as possible.
The most important features of the feeding regimen were as follows. (1) Infants were fed via indwelling silastic catheters inserted into the superior vena cava or the right atrium by a cutdown operation. (2) The parenteral feeding was fat free to simplify the administration system. Y connectors and 2- or 3-way taps were avoided. (3) Extreme care was taken of junctions within the infusion system. Only certain members of the hospital staff were allowed to break such junctions, e.g. during the changing of packs of solution or of the giving sets. These junctions were sprayed with antibacterial aerosols. (4) The hypertonic solutions of nutrients were prepared in plastic packs, which do not require ventilation. The infusion system was therefore not contaminated by the entry of unsterile outside air. (5) The infused solutions were passed through 0·22 μm millipore filters before entering the patient's blood stream.
There was an infection rate of 9% which was less than the 25 to 45% infection rate previously reported during parenteral feeding through indwelling venous catheters, and is also less than that associated with ventriculoatrial shunts for hydrocephalus. There was no case of systemic candidiasis, which is the most frequent and most serious infection associated with parenteral feeding.
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