Nutritional support of the patient receiving high-dose therapy with hematopoietic stem cell support

Sheryl McDiarmid


Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is an intensive therapy that is being used increasingly in an attempt to cure certain malignancies. One of the major adverse effects of this treatment is an inadequate oral intake that may result in dehydration and malnutrition. Factors that may contribute to inadequate oral intake include mucositis, nausea, vomiting, and anorexia. In addition, prior to transplant, many patients may have experienced, or continue to experience malnutrition associated with malignancy and its therapy.

Traditionally, total parenteral nutrition (TPN) has been the mainstay of nutritional support in this patient population. The blood and marrow transplant (BMT) team at the Ottawa Hospital has significantly decreased the use of TPN through the initiation of a comprehensive nutritional support program that uses a variety of interventions including oral supplementation and enteral feeding. Understanding the causes and implications of malnutrition, and using tools that allow risk assessment and timely implementation of appropriate nutritional interventions, may facilitate full patient recovery parallel to hematopoietic recovery in the HSCT patient population.

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