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JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2014 May;38(1 Suppl):8S-13S. doi: 10.1177/0148607114520994. Epub 2014 Jan 31.

Spectrum of short bowel syndrome in adults: intestinal insufficiency to intestinal failure.

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Department of Medical Gastroenterology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Short bowel syndrome (SBS) refers to the malabsorptive state caused by physical or functional loss of portions of the small intestine, most commonly following extensive intestinal resection. Such resections hinder absorption of adequate amounts of macronutrients, micronutrients, electrolytes, and water, resulting in malnutrition, diarrhea, and dehydration. Clinical features of SBS vary along a continuum, depending on the extent and anatomy of intestine lost and the ability of the patient and the remaining intestine to compensate for the loss. The impact of SBS can be extensive, leading to diminished health-related quality of life because of its many physical and psychological effects on patients. SBS is associated with decreased survival; risk factors for SBS-related mortality include very short remnant small bowel, end-jejunal remnant anatomy, and arterial mesenteric infarction as primary cause. Although parenteral nutrition and/or intravenous fluid (PN/IV) is a life-saving measure for many patients with SBS, patients with the most severe malabsorption (ie, dependent on PN/IV) are at risk for severe, chronic complications and death. Patients' treatment needs vary depending on disease severity and resection type; thus, each patient should be individually managed. This review discusses the spectrum of disease in patients with SBS and presents common complications encountered by these patients to highlight the importance of individualized management and treatment.


adults; gastroenterology; home nutrition support; parenteral nutrition; venous access

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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