Nutrition support during allogeneic stem cell transplantation: evidence versus practice

Sarah Andersen, Merrilyn Banks, Teresa Brown, Nicholas Weber, Glen Kennedy, Judy Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Enteral (EN) or parenteral nutrition (PN) is frequently required during allogeneic haematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation (HPCT), however there is limited consensus on the appropriate mode and timing of nutrition support commencement. This study aimed to investigate current nutrition support practices in Australian allogeneic transplant units and explore barriers and enablers to the use of EN and PN. Methods: All Australian adult allogeneic HPCT units were eligible to participate. A survey tool was developed, and phone interview with each unit dietitian was completed to explore current nutrition support and perceived barriers and enablers to provision of nutrition care. Results: A total of 12 (100%) units agreed to participate. Six (50%) units reported using PN as standard care and six use EN routinely for one or more conditioning regimens. All units using EN place feeding tubes proactively with tolerance of EN reported at 50–95%. The most frequently reported barriers to the use of EN include perception of poor EN tolerance, medical team preference for PN, gastrointestinal symptoms and thrombocytopenia. Reported barriers to the use of PN include fluid overload, elevated liver enzymes, patient apprehension about PN commencement, medical team uncertainty if PN is required and patients approaching engraftment. Conclusion: There is wide variation in the mode and timing of nutrition support provided to patients undergoing allogeneic HPCT. Clinical guidelines should be updated to reflect recent findings on EN use and incorporate strategies to optimise EN tolerance. This will assist in standardising practice and facilitate evidence-based nutrition care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5441-5447
Number of pages7
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Allogeneic stem cell transplant
  • Enteral nutrition
  • Nutrition support
  • Parenteral nutrition

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