BACKGROUND: Parenteral nutrition (PN) is a life-saving therapy but has been associated with dyslipidemia. Because fish oil has been shown to have positive effects on lipid profiles, the authors hypothesize that a parenteral fish oil lipid emulsion will improve lipid profiles in children who are PN dependent.

METHODS: The authors examined the lipid profiles of a unique cohort of 10 children who were exclusively administered a fish oil-based lipid emulsion while on PN for a median duration of 14 weeks. Longitudinal data analysis with a generalized estimating equations approach was used to determine the sterol and bilirubin levels based on duration of the fish oil-based lipid emulsion.

RESULTS: After 14 weeks of fish oil monotherapy, children had a 24% increase in high-density lipoprotein. Compared to baseline, serum low-density lipoprotein, very low-density lipoprotein, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels all significantly decreased by 22%, 41%, 17%, and 46%, respectively. Eight children had their bilirubin improved with a decreased direct bilirubin from 6.9 mg/dL (range, 4.4-10.7) at baseline to 2.3 mg/dL (range, 1.3-4.0) after 14 weeks, and a decrease in total bilirubin from 8.7 mg/dL (range, 5.5-13.7) to 3.8 mg/dL (range, 2.2-6.5).

CONCLUSION: A fish oil-based lipid emulsion used as monotherapy in children who exclusively depended on PN for survival was associated with significant improvement in all major lipid panels as well as improvement of hyperbilirubinemia. Parenteral fish oil may be the preferred lipid source in children with dyslipidemia.