Topical corn oil in the management of essential fatty acid deficiency

M. C. McCarthy, W. W. Turner, K. Whatley, G. L. Cottam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Conflicting anecdotal reports about the efficacy of topical linoleate in managing essential fatty acid deficiency prompted this prospective study of 10 critically ill surgical patients receiving continuous total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Ten ml of corn oil (4800 mg of linoleate) were massaged into the skin daily commencing after 7.7 ± 3.8 (mean ± SD) days of fat-free intake. Plasma samples were obtained weekly. Total lipids were extracted and methylated, and fatty acids were quantitated by gas-liquid chromatography. The triene:tetraene ratio (20:3ω9/20:4ω6) increased progressively in patients despite corn oil therapy. In 89% of patients the ratio exceeded 0.2, which is diagnostic of essential fatty acid deficiency (EFAD). Topical application of corn oil does not prevent or treat EFAD in patients on TPN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-375
Number of pages3
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Topical corn oil in the management of essential fatty acid deficiency'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this