Health Questions and Answers

Question: Which vitamin deficiencies might develop in a patient maintained on long-term TPN (> 6 mo) containing only Na+, K+, Cl-, HCO3-, glucose, and amino acids?


This TPN solution clearly is lacking in vitamins and trace minerals. In a matter of weeks, the patient would be expected to develop deficiencies in magnesium, zinc, essential fatty acids, and water-soluble vitamins (with the exception of B12). Over several months, vitamin K and copper deficiencies would develop. Over a period of years, deficiencies in the fat-soluble vitamins A and D as well as selenium, chromium, and vitamin B12 would result.

Reference:   Rustgi AK (ed): The Requisites in Gastroenterology: Vol 1: Esophagus and Stomach. St. Louis, Mosby, 2003

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