Background & aims: The short bowel syndrome (SBS) may be associated with either transient or permanent intestinal failure, presently treated by parenteral nutrition (PN). Survival and PN-dependence probabilities, taking into account both small bowel remnant length and the type of the digestive circuit of anastomosis, are not known in adult SBS patients. The aim of this study was to assess such prognostic factors.
Methods: A total of 124 consecutive adults with nonmalignant SBS were enrolled from 1980 to 1992 at 2 home PN centers. They were analyzed for survival and PN-dependence probabilities using the Cox model and for PN dependence using linear discriminant analysis. Data were updated in April 1996.
Results: Survival and PN-dependence probabilities were 86% and 49% and 75% and 45% at 2 and 5 years, respectively. In multivariate analysis, survival was related negatively to end-enterostomy, to small bowel length of <50 cm, and to arterial infarction as a cause of SBS, but not to PN dependence. The latter was related negatively to postduodenal small bowel lengths of <50 and 50-99 cm and to absence of terminal ileum and/or colon in continuity. Cutoff values of small bowel lengths separating transient and permanent intestinal failure were 100, 65, and 30 cm in end-enterostomy, jejunocolic, and jejunoileocolic type of anastomosis, respectively.
Conclusions: In adult SBS patients, small bowel length of <100 cm is highly predictive of permanent intestinal failure. Presence of terminal ileum and/or colon in continuity enhances both weaning off PN and survival probabilities. After 2 years of PN, probability of permanent intestinal failure is 94%. These rates may lead to selection of other treatments, especially intestinal transplantation, instead of PN, for permanent intestinal failure caused by SBS.