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Short Bowel Syndrome: A Practical Pathway Leading to Successful Enteral Autonomy

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Short bowel syndrome is a multisystemic disorder that results from the loss of a significant amount of small bowel. The goal of treatment in these patients is to achieve complete enteral autonomy while minimizing complications. Our unit has 30 years of experience in the management of short gut patients. During the past decade, our results have improved significantly, especially in children with severe short bowel syndrome. This brief communication looks at the algorithm presently used in our unit.


In this communication, the principles in management of short bowel syndrome in our unit are discussed. In addition, our algorithm is published for the first time. A brief summary of our results is provided.


Twenty-seven children were enrolled from 2000 to 2009. In this cohort, two patients died because of significant liver disease: one after having two liver and bowel transplants. Overall, survival stands at 92%. All had autologous gastrointestinal reconstruction, and 19 patients underwent bowel lengthening (longitudinal intestinal lengthening and tailoring). The median residual length of bowel of this subgroup at first operation was 25 cm in those who had their gut measured. Two patients were lost to follow-up. Two patients remain on supplemental total parenteral nutrition (TPN), with an overall 91% of surviving patients off TPN at a median of 6 months after reconstruction.


We believe this improvement is related to the development—over many years—of a structured pathway for managing these patients.

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Correspondence to A. Morabito.

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Ba’ath, M.E., Almond, S., King, B. et al. Short Bowel Syndrome: A Practical Pathway Leading to Successful Enteral Autonomy. World J Surg 36, 1044–1048 (2012).

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