NeoCHIRP: A model for intestinal rehabilitation in the neonatal intensive care unit

Nutr Clin Pract. 2021 Dec;36(6):1320-1327. doi: 10.1002/ncp.10734. Epub 2021 Jul 16.


Multidisciplinary intestinal rehabilitation (IR) teams have transformed care in pediatric intestinal failure (IF).1 Although most children with IF are identified in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), IR teams may not be involved at this stage. We describe our collaborative model, blending NICU and IR expertise to optimize care. Over 6 years, the NeoCHIRP (Neonatal Children's IR Program) team followed 164 babies for weekly visits (median, 8; range, 1-27). Bedside rounds included CHIRP team physician and surgeons, neonatologist champion, attending neonatologist and fellow, NICU dietitian, bedside nurse, and family. Medical and nutrition status, nutrition history, and laboratory data were discussed, and a nutrition plan to support IR, considering the child's other medical needs, was created to guide the next week's management. Typical issues addressed included parenteral nutrition (PN) composition, enteral nutrition plan, oral feeding, management of small-intestinal bacterial overgrowth and sodium status, and cholestasis. A total of 164 babies were followed by the NeoCHIRP team. Of 153 survivors, IF resolved by discharge in 89% (136 of 153). Seventeen of 153 babies (11%) went on to require home PN and were transferred from NICU directly to the CHIRP team. By discharge, 99% of babies were orally fed (69/136, 50% fully, 67/136, 49% partially), and cholestasis improved or resolved in 80/105 (76%). Eleven babies (7%) died; four deaths were unrelated to IF, but in seven babies, IF was at least a contributing factor. In this high-risk cohort, most babies achieved good outcomes, and those who required longer-term IR transitioned smoothly to the CHIRP team.

Keywords: enteral nutrition; intestinal rehabilitation; neonatal intensive care unit; neonate; nutrition support; parenteral nutrition.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Enteral Nutrition
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Intestinal Failure*
  • Intestines
  • Parenteral Nutrition