High prevalence of multiple micronutrient deficiencies in children with intestinal failure: a longitudinal study

J Pediatr. 2011 Jul;159(1):39-44.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.12.049. Epub 2011 Feb 16.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies in children with intestinal failure as they transitioned from parenteral nutrition (PN) to enteral nutrition (EN).

Study design: We reviewed medical records of all patients with severe intestinal failure treated from 1999 to 2008 at a multidisciplinary intestinal rehabilitation program who had undergone micronutrient biochemical monitoring.

Results: The cohort of 30 children (mean age, 5 years; range, 2 to 9 years; 18 boys) had median PN duration of 23 weeks (IQR, 13 to 34 weeks). Median transition from PN to full EN lasted 12 weeks (IQR, 8 to 20 weeks); during this transition, 33% of patients had at least one vitamin deficiency and 77% at least one mineral deficiency. After transition to 100% EN, 70% had at least one vitamin deficiency and 77% had at least one mineral deficiency, with the most common deficiencies being vitamin D (68%), zinc (67%), and iron deficiency (37%). After transition to 100% EN, multivariate analysis identified regular use of a multivitamin supplement (P=.004) and intact ileocecal valve (P=.02) as protective against the development of vitamin deficiencies, independent of bowel length, gestational age, and days on PN.

Conclusions: Children with intestinal failure exhibit a high prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies during intestinal rehabilitation. Regular monitoring and aggressive supplementation in children with intestinal failure is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / therapy
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Enteral Nutrition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Micronutrients / deficiency*
  • Parenteral Nutrition*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / complications*
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / therapy
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use


  • Micronutrients
  • Vitamins