Hepatobiliary, renal and bone complications of intestinal failure

Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2003 Dec;17(6):907-29. doi: 10.1016/s1521-6918(03)00108-2.


Abnormal liver function tests in patients with intestinal failure (IF) may be due to the underlying disease, IF or the treatments given (including parenteral nutrition (PN)). PN-related liver disease in children usually relates to intrahepatic cholestasis and in adults to steatosis. Steatosis may be consequent upon an excess of carbohydrate, lipid or protein, or upon a deficiency of a specific molecule. Pigment-type gallstones are common in adults and children with IF; these develop from biliary sludge that forms during periods of gallbladder stasis. Ileal disease/resection, parenteral nutrition, surgery, rapid weight loss and drugs all increase the risk of developing gallstones. Gallstone formation may be prevented by reducing gallbladder stasis (oral/enteral feeding or prokinetic agents), altering bile composition, or by means of a prophylactic cholecystectomy. Calcium oxalate renal stones are common in patients with a short bowel and retained functioning colon and are consequent upon increased absorption of dietary oxalate; they are prevented by a low-oxalate diet. An osteopathy may occur with long-term parenteral nutrition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Diseases / etiology*
  • Calcium Oxalate / metabolism
  • Gallstones / etiology*
  • Gallstones / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Kidney Calculi / etiology*
  • Liver Diseases / etiology*
  • Parenteral Nutrition / adverse effects
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / complications*


  • Calcium Oxalate