Stick with the (intestinal) rehab program?

More data on the progress of treatment of short bowel syndrome (SBS) programs:

  • Avitzur J, et al. JPGN 2015; 61: 18-23

In this study, the researchers from Toronto and the Group for Improvement of Intestinal Function and Treatment (GIFT) retrospectively examine 84 patients over 3 time periods: 1999-2002, 2003-2005, and 2006-2009.

Key points:

  • Across those time periods, the authors find fewer SBS patients that needed to be listed for transplantation despite similar baseline characteristics.  In addition, many more patients in the late period were removed from the transplant waiting list due to clinical improvement.
  • Another important finding was a drop in mortality (15% vs >60%) and a shift from previous causes like liver failure and sepsis to death from other comorbid conditions.
  • “Since 2009, we have performed only 1 IT [intestinal transplant].”  They note this is a worldwide trend with ~50% reduction in pediatric IT since 2008.
  • Even with ultrashort bowel (small bowel length <30 cm), there are reports that “50% of these patients achieved PN independence within 2 years.”  As such, this is a declining indication for IT listing. In this study, ultrashort bowel was the reason for listing in 11% in the last period compared 21% in the first time period.

Why is this happening?

The authors credit the intestinal rehab program (IRP) for this impact along with specific management changes including new lipid emulsions/lipid minimization to reduce IFALD, use of ethanol locks to reduce bloodstream infections, and bowel reconstructive procedures (e.g. STEP).

Briefly noted: Merras-Salmio L, Pakarinen MP. JPGN 2015; 61: 24-9. This second retrospective study (n=48) from Finland reinforces the view of improvements in cholestasis  and prognosis from 1988-2014.  Similar strategies, as noted above, were implemented in SBS management protocols.

Bottomline: The outlook has improved for SBS.  While this is good news, at the same time, there will be less pediatric gastroenterologists with extensive intestinal transplantation experience.

In Wyoming often there are stretches of nearly deserted highways

In Wyoming often there are stretches of nearly deserted highways

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One thought on “Stick with the (intestinal) rehab program?

  1. Pingback: Medical Progress for Intestinal Failure Associated Liver Disease | gutsandgrowth

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