Congenital short bowel syndrome: systematic review of a rare condition

J Pediatr Surg. 2020 Sep;55(9):1809-1814. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2020.03.009. Epub 2020 Mar 23.


Background: Congenital short bowel syndrome (CSBS) is a rare gastrointestinal disorder caused by intrauterine reduction of small bowel length whose etiology is still unknown. Chronic diarrhea, vomiting, and failure to thrive are the most important complications, arising from less absorptive intestinal surface. This review examines clinical features and outcomes of CSBS patients.

Methods: A PubMed and EMBASE research on CSBS was performed. Inclusion criterion was congenital short bowel diagnosis in a range of ages between 33 weeks of gestational age and 15 years old (IQR 38 days). Exclusion criteria were history of atresia of any part of the gastrointestinal tract and extensive surgical bowel resections. Qualitative and quantitative variables were collected and analyzed. Data were expressed in mean and IQR.

Results: Sixty-one patients were identified (38 males, 23 females) from 1969 to date. Mean bowel length was 58.24 cm (IQR 37.5). Malrotation of the midgut was seen in 98.4% of cases. Our data showed an interesting trend in improving the survival rate of these patients (from 28.5% before 2008 to 75% in the period after 2008). Sepsis was the most frequent cause of death reported (57.9%). Interestingly, 18 patients were genetically analyzed, finding mutations either in FLNA gene (38.8%) or in CLMP gene (61.1%).

Conclusions: CSBS is a condition that seems to be related to an autosomal recessive (CLMP) or an X linked (FLNA) type of inheritance. Advance in medical management seems to have improved survival of these children in recent years. Further genetic studies can better understand the causes of this disease aiming to create personalized treatment.

Type of study: Systematic review.

Level of evidence: Level IV.

Keywords: Bowel obstruction; CLMP and FLNA mutations; Congenital short bowel; Malnutrition; Malrotation.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Coxsackie and Adenovirus Receptor-Like Membrane Protein / genetics
  • Female
  • Filamins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction*
  • Intestines / pathology
  • Male
  • Sepsis


  • CLMP protein, human
  • Coxsackie and Adenovirus Receptor-Like Membrane Protein
  • FLNA protein, human
  • Filamins