When patients are unable to feed themselves even with help, whether this is because they are unconscious or because the pathology that they present impedes this, it is necessary to turn to an artificial nutrition formula which provides them with the basic nutrients that they need to stay alive.
There are two different types of artificial nutrition: enteral nutrition and parenteral or intravenous nutrition.
Enteral nutrition is carried out by inserting a nasogastric or orogastric tube so that one end remains on the outside (either through a nasal passage or the mouth) and the other end remains in a different part of the digestive tract (the stomach, duodenum or small intestine). This means that the oral and oesophageal stages of digestion are skipped and the nutrients are placed directly in the intestinal tract area where they can be absorbed. It is a fundamental prerequisite that the patient’s digestive tract continues to function and to be capable of processing and absorbing these nutrients.
This type of nutrition is used when patients cannot feed themselves orally on a voluntary basis, whether this is due to a pathology or because they have been subject to a surgical procedure which impedes this. Within enteral nutrition there are two categories:
Discontinuous enteral nutrition involves infusing nutrients at flexible time intervals. For example, the nutrients can be administered using a syringe, without requiring a mechanical element to propel them.
Continuous enteral nutrition requires the continuous gastric infusion of nutrients through a mechanical process using an enteral infusion pump. This type of enteral nutrition prevents overloading the digestive system and improves the absorption of nutrients.
Parenteral nutrition consists of infusing a combination of nutrients intravenously, directly into the bloodstream of the patient. These nutrients are a combination of sugars, salts, vitamins, amino acids and trace elements which are prepared in the hospital pharmacy departments according to the characteristics of the patient and his or her needs.
The infusion can be conducted using a central or peripheral line. It is highly recommendable to use an infusion pump for the correct control of the flow and the detection of possible obstructions in the line.
The requirements of artificial nutrition are also covered by arcomed’s Chroma series of infusion pumps: in the case of enteral nutrition, with a model which has been specially designed for this purpose and a range of accesories EnFit specifically designed for this purpose.
For parenteral nutrition, arcomed Chroma volumetric pumps are equipped to provide an accurate, effective and safe nutrient infusion using infusion systems with specific filters for that purpose.