Enteral nutrition is increasingly used in the management of sick children. Malnutrition may frequently complicate chronic illness in children and nutritional support may be a primary treatment. Particularly children with malnutrition due to certain chronic disorders may need long term enteral nutrition not only in hospital but also at home. We report our experience on home enteral nutrition of 14 patients, aged from 3 months to 15 years. Eleven had a serious weight deficit (< 3 degrees percentile), but none had severe alteration of the biohumoral nutritional parameters. The indication for EN were: in 7 patients cerebral palsy, in 2 cystic fibrosis, and in the other 5 patients congenital heart disease, multiple food intolerance, oesophageal athresia, Werding-Hoffman disease, Costello's Syndrome. Nutritional support was given by nasogastric tube in 6 patients, through gastrostomy in 3 patients and by mouth in 5 patients. We did not see any severe complication due to home enteral nutrition. The practicalities of this nutritional approach are discussed. Although home enteral nutrition was evaluated in a low number of patients, it may have a role in promoting growth of children with inadequate dietary intake or malnutrition and in improving their quality of life.
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