Total parenteral alimentation (TPA) was delivered to 80 infants via indwelling umbilical artery and to 9 via indwelling umbilical venous catheters. The primary indication for catheter placement and maintenance was monitoring of arterial blood gases (umbilical venous catheter tip in left atrium) in a group of sick neonates requiring increased inspired oxygen or assisted ventilation. Results were compared with those from 23 infants who had tunnelled jugular catheters for a variety of chronic medical and surgical problems preventing gastric or intestinal feeding. A mean weight gain was achieved in both groups. Mortality and morbidity rates were similar in both groups. The most common complications were infection and thrombotic phenomena. Metabolic complications were few. It is concluded that infusing TPA solutions via indwelling umbilical catheters presents no greater risk than infusion via tunnelled jugular catheters, and provides a method for supplying adequate caloric intake for growth during the acute stage of illness.
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