Recent improvements in parenteral nutrition and home care delivery systems have made home parenteral nutrition (HPN) a reality for patients with gynecologic malignancies. The records of 61 patients with gynecologic cancers who received HPN between 1981 and 1990 were retrospectively reviewed for outcome, complications, survival, and quality of life. Indications for HPN included mechanical bowel obstruction, short bowel syndrome, malnutrition during cancer therapy, or complications of cancer therapy. Ninety-two percent of patients had disease present at initiation of HPN. Fifty-six percent of patients bad ovarian cancer; the remainder had other gynecologic malignancies. The vast majority of patients had prior surgery, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy before receiving HPN. Sixty-four percent of patients underwent cancer treatment (chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation) during HPN. Median survival for ovarian cancer patients on HPN was 72 days and 52.5 days for nonovarian patients (not statistically significant, P = 0.95). Minimal complications were noted from HPN with 9% of hospitalizations due to HPN. Nutritional parameters initially improved in most patients on HPN but then decreased prior to death. Quality of life parameters improved significantly in patients on HPN as compared to pre-HPN status (P < 0.05). In conclusion, HPN is a viable option in gynecologic cancer patients and offers improved quality of life even during the terminal phase of their illness.
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