Mortality and economics in short bowel syndrome

Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2003 Dec;17(6):931-42. doi: 10.1016/s1521-6918(03)00079-9.


The incidence of patients with short-bowel syndrome (SBS) has increased over the years due to progress of intensive care medicine and parenteral nutrition techniques. These techniques have significantly improved the prognosis of neonates, children and adults who have lost major parts of their intestinal tract. Long-term survival is possible and does not depend primarily on the length of the remaining bowel but on complications such as parenteral nutrition-associated cholestasis, recurrent septicaemia, central venous catheter infections, and the motility of the remaining intestine. Thus, the overall related mortality in infants with SBS ranges from 15 to 25%, and in adults from 15 to 47%, depending on the age of the patients, the underlying disease, and the duration on total parenteral nutrition. Home parenteral nutrition (HPN) significantly decreases the complication rate and improves the psychological situation of the patient. Additionally, HPN reduces in-hospital cost significantly. Nevertheless, the annual costs/patient are between $100000 and $150000. The mortality rate of SBS patients on HPN is about 30% after 5 years, which is still lower than the 5-year survival rate of intestinal grafts, and it is about equal to patients' survival after intestinal transplantation. However, the overall costs of a successful intestinal transplantation are already lower after 2 years when compared with the cost of a prolonged HPN programme.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization, Central Venous / economics
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intestines / transplantation
  • Parenteral Nutrition, Home / economics
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / economics*
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / mortality*
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / therapy
  • Survival Rate