Enteric hyperoxaluria is a common occurrence in the setting of fat malabsorption, usually due to intestinal resection or intestinal bypass surgery. Enhanced intestinal absorption of dietary oxalate leads to elevated renal oxalate excretion, frequently in excess of 100 mg/d (1.14 mmol/d). Patients are at increased risk of urolithiasis and loss of kidney function from oxalate nephropathy. Fat malabsorption causes increased binding of diet calcium by free fatty acids, reducing the calcium available to precipitate diet oxalate. Delivery of unabsorbed bile salts and fatty acids to the colon increases colonic permeability, the site of oxalate hyper-absorption in enteric hyperoxaluria. The combination of soluble oxalate in the intestinal lumen and increased permeability of the colonic mucosa leads to hyperoxaluria. Dietary therapy consists of limiting oxalate and fat intake. The primary medical intervention is the use of oral oxalate binding agents such as calcium salts to reduce free intestinal oxalate levels. Bile acid sequestrants can be useful in patients with ileal resection and bile acid malabsorption. Oxalate degrading bacteria provided as probiotics are being investigated but as of yet, no definite benefit has been shown with currently available preparations. The current state of medical therapy and potential future directions will be summarized in this article.
Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Malabsorption; Oxalobacter formigenes; Steatorrhea.