AIMS: To compare the effect of concentration of a mixed lipid emulsion (50:50 medium chain triglyceride/long chain triglyceride) (MCT/LCT) on lipid tolerance in neonates. METHODS: A prospective randomised controlled trial of 75 neonates requiring prolonged parenteral nutrition was conducted in the neonatal intensive care units of the Royal Maternity Hospital, Belfast, and the Waveney Hospital, Ballymena. Thirty eight infants received 10% and 37 20% lipid emulsion. Infants were randomly assigned to groups at the start of parenteral nutrition and studied if they required seven or more days of this. Lipid tolerance was assessed by twice weekly measurements of plasma triglyceride and cholesterol concentrations and weekly measurement of non-esterified fatty acids and beta hydroxy butyrate. Anthropometry was carried out weekly. RESULTS: The mean cholesterol in the 10% group was significantly higher within the first seven days of the study compared with the 20% group (3.5 vs 2.87 mmol/l), and continued to rise over the study period in contrast to the 20% group. A similar pattern was observed with the triglyceride concentrations. There was no significant difference in non-esterified fatty acids, beta hydroxy butyrate, or growth between the two groups. CONCLUSION: Sick neonates show better biochemical tolerance to 20% MCT/LCT emulsion than to 10% emulsion.
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