Protein-losing enteropathy and gastropathy
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The diagnosis of protein-losing enteropathy (PLE) should be considered in all patients with hypoalbuminemia and edema without other known causes, and established by plasma alpha1-antitrypsin (a1-AT) clearance or nuclear studies.
The therapy for PLE should focus principally on the treatment of the underlying disease after it has been identified. Therapeutic goals should include improvement of hypoalbuminemia, edema, and lymphopenia.
The existing primary literature for therapy of PLE syndromes consists mainly of case reports and expert opinions, subject to substantial reporting bias and unknown rates of spontaneous remission; the rarity of and the diversity among this set of diseases make future large randomized trials unlikely. Therapeutic choices, therefore, must involve clinical acumen, empiricism, and understanding of the pathophysiology of the underlying disease process, and must be tailored to each individual patient’s syndrome.
Dietary interventions including hypolipidic, high-protein regimens, supplemented by medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), are extremely useful, particularly in protein loss due to increased lymphatic pressure.
Corticosteroids can be very useful in certain cases of PLE (though not without substantial long-term toxicity) when clinical serologic or histologic markers of inflammatory disease are present. Octreotide is a well tolerated drug that has been demonstrated to improve PLE in some patients, and is worth consideration.
Octreotide is a well tolerated drug that has been demonstrated to improve PLE in some patients, and is worth consideration.
Surgery finds its best role in treating gastrointestinal protein loss from neoplasia, inflammatory bowel disease, and hypertrophic gastritis. Most other PLEs are distributed too widely for surgical intervention.
Protein-losing gastropathy (PLG) behaves somewhat differently from the general group of PLE, marked by excellent responses to elimination of Helicobacter pylori, antisecretory therapy, and surgical resection.
Protein-losing enteropathy stemming from cardiovascular disease is best treated by medical or surgical cardiovascular interventions; however, some patients may respond to mucosa-directed therapy.
KeywordsOctreotide Constrictive Pericarditis Protein Loss Fontan Operation Small Bowel Disease
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References and Recommended Reading
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