Ultrashort Bowel Syndrome Outcome in Children Treated in a Multidisciplinary Intestinal Rehabilitation Unit

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Short bowel syndrome (SBS) is the leading cause of intestinal failure (IF) in the pediatric population. Our aim was to review long-term outcome of ultrashort bowel syndrome (USBS) in an Intestinal Rehabilitation Unit (IRU).

Patients and Methods

Retrospective study of patients with USBS (defined as < 10 cm of remnant small bowel) treated between 2000 and 2015. Demographic data, clinical, and treatment variables including parenteral nutrition (PN), surgical techniques, and intestinal transplantation (IT) were analyzed.


Out of 250 children, 30 referred to the IRU met inclusion criteria. Upon first assessment, patients had a median age of 3 (1-217) months and had undergone 3 (1-6) previous laparotomies that left 5 (0-9) cm of remnant small bowel. The main cause of USBS was neonatal midgut volvulus (50%). Follow-up was 28 (4-175) months. Advanced IF-associated liver disease (IFALD) was documented in 63%. None of the patients achieved digestive autonomy and was consequently considered for IT. One patient was excluded, five died before IT, and three are still on the waiting list. Six patients received an isolated IT, 6 a combined liver IT, and 18 a multivisceral graft. Digestive autonomy was achieved in 71% after 31 (14-715) days after IT and currently 62% are alive and off total PN. A significant drop in IFALD progression prior to IT was observed with the introduction of new lipid emulsions in 2010 (SMOF or Soy oil MCT (mid-chain triglycerides) Olive oil Fish oil).


A multidisciplinary IRU including an IT program offers a comprehensive approach for patients with IF and is crucial to improve survival rate of USBS. New PN lipid emulsions had an impact on IFALD progression and may eventually reduce overall mortality.

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