Growth Trajectory in Children With Short Bowel Syndrome During the First 2 Years of Life

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Infants with short bowel syndrome (SBS) require diligent nutritional support for adequate growth. Enteral independence is a primary goal, but must be balanced with ensuring sufficient nutrition. We aimed to describe growth trajectory in infants with SBS as function of nutritional intake during first 2 years of life.


Infants with SBS were reviewed (2008–2016). z Scores for weight, height, and head circumference (HC) were recorded at birth, 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. Nutritional intake, serum liver enzyme, and bilirubin levels were assessed at all time points. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to measure association with P < 0.05 considered significant.


Forty-one infants were included, with median gestational age of 34 weeks (interquartile range [IQR] 29–36 weeks). Median small bowel length was 36 cm (IQR 26–52 cm) and median % expected small bowel length was 28% (IQR 20%–42%). Mean z scores for weight and length were >0 at birth, but <0 from 3 months to 2 years. HC remained <0 throughout the study. Mean z scores at 2 years for weight, length, HC, and weight-for-length were −0.90 (SD 1.1), −1.33 (SD 1.4), −0.67 (SD 1.2), and −0.12 (SD 1.2), respectively. Percentage calories from PN was positively correlated with weight in the first 3 months of life (P = 0.01).


Babies with SBS are high risk for poor growth during the first 2 years of life. Although weaning PN is important for these patients, doing so too quickly in infancy may contribute to compromised growth. The long-term impact on overall development is not known.

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