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Pediatr Surg Int. 2000;16(3):155-64.

"Gut-feeling" or evidence-based approaches in the evaluation and treatment of human short-bowel syndrome.

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Department of Paediatric Surgery, University Hospital/Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Short bowel syndrome is the malabsorptive state that often follows extensive resection of the small intestine. Long-term survival without parenteral nutrition depends on the process of intestinal adaptation, through which the remaining small bowel gradually increases its absorptive capacity. The process of intestinal adaptation is almost exclusively luminal nutrient dependent. To date the clinical management of short bowel patients is mostly based on a 'trial and error' regimen because human data and randomised trials using trophic substances are lacking due to the small number of patients annually present in pediatric surgical centres. We evaluate here the currently available as well as some more recently developed methods of measuring intestinal absorption and adaptation in short bowel patients. New techniques such as measurements of (1) intestinal permeability and carbohydrate absorption using the sugar absorption test, (2) gastrointestinal hormone production of gastrin, cholecystokinin and peptide YY, (3) transmural potential difference of the gastrointestinal tract using electrophysiology and (4) mucosal enzyme expression of lactase and sucrase-isomaltase using immunohistochemistry were evaluated. These new techniques are promising in monitoring the process of adaptation of the remaining intestine and evaluating the effect of therapeutic interventions in patients with short bowel syndrome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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