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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012 May;166(5):473-8. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.1896.

Novel lipid-based approaches to pediatric intestinal failure-associated liver disease.

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  • 1Child Health Evaluative Sciences Program, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Historically, intestinal failure-associated liver disease (IFALD) has been the greatest contributor to the morbidity experienced by children with intestinal failure. Although the cause of IFALD is multifactorial, recently much attention has been devoted to the critical role that intravenous lipid emulsions play in the development of IFALD. This attention has prompted an interest in alternate approaches to the provision of intravenous lipid in children with IFALD. The 2 approaches that have been advanced are that of lipid minimization and alternate intravenous lipid emulsions, including those containing ω-3 fatty acids. This article examines the rationale and current evidence for these approaches in children with intestinal failure. Our overall finding is that although these alternate approaches show significant promise, they have primarily been studied in uncontrolled settings, mainly in children with advanced IFALD. As such, we believe that there remains a lack of definitive evidence for their efficacy. Furthermore, important safety parameters remain to be evaluated, including the effect of these therapies on growth and development. Therefore, there is currently insufficient evidence to support the use of these novel therapies as standard of care in children with no or early IFALD with the goal of preventing the progression of liver disease.

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