The rate of bloodstream infection is high in infants with short bowel syndrome: relationship with small bowel bacterial overgrowth, enteral feeding, and inflammatory and immune responses

J Pediatr. 2010 Jun;156(6):941-947.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.12.008. Epub 2010 Feb 20.


Objective: This pilot study in parenteral nutrition-dependent infants with short bowel syndrome (SBS) evaluated the impact of feeding route and intestinal permeability on bloodstream infection (BSI), small bowel bacterial overgrowth (SBBO), and systemic immune responses, as well as fecal calprotectin as a biomarker for SBBO.

Study design: Ten infants (ages 4.2-15.4 months) with SBS caused by necrotizing enterocolitis were evaluated. Nutritional assessment, breath hydrogen testing, intestinal permeability, fecal calprotectin, serum flagellin- and lipopolysaccharide-specific antibody titers, and proinflammatory cytokine concentrations (tumor necrosis factor-alpha [TNF-alpha], interleukin-1 beta, -6, and -8) were performed at baseline and at 60 and 120 days. Healthy, age-matched control subjects (n = 5) were recruited.

Results: BSI incidence was high (80%), and SBBO was common (50%). SBBO increased the odds for BSI (>7-fold; P = .009). Calprotectin levels were higher in children with SBS and SBBO versus those without SBBO and healthy control subjects (P < .05). Serum TNF-alpha, was elevated at baseline versus controls. Serum TNF-alpha and interleukin-1 beta, -6, and -8 levels diminished with increased enteral nutrition. Anti-flagellin and anti-lipopolysaccharide immunoglobulin G levels in children with SBS were lower versus control subjects and rose over time.

Conclusion: In children with SBS, SBBO increases the risk for BSI, and systemic proinflammatory response decreases with increasing enteral feeding and weaning parenteral nutrition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Enteral Nutrition
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / surgery
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Female
  • Flagellin / blood
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Interleukin-1beta / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Interleukin-8 / blood
  • Intestine, Small / microbiology*
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / analysis
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sepsis / blood*
  • Sepsis / epidemiology
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood


  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-8
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Flagellin