Severe small intestinal bacterial overgrowth syndrome after jejunal feeding requiring surgical intervention: a case report and review of the literature

BMC Gastroenterol. 2022 Jun 20;22(1):300. doi: 10.1186/s12876-022-02370-2.


Background: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition of unknown prevalence characterized by an excessive amount of bacteria in the small bowel, typically resulting in vague gastrointestinal symptoms with bloating being most commonly reported. Here we describe a severe case of SIBO leading to small bowel necrosis requiring surgical intervention.

Case presentation: A 55-year-old Hispanic female with gastric outlet obstruction secondary to a newly diagnosed gastric adenocarcinoma, receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy, developed bloody gastrostomy output and rapidly progressing nausea and abdominal distention 3 days after jejunostomy tube placement and initiation of jejunal enteral nutrition. Imaging revealed diffuse pneumatosis and portal venous gas. Surgical exploration confirmed segmental bowel necrosis requiring resection. Histologic findings were consistent with SIBO.

Conclusions: Presentation of severe SIBO in the setting of intestinal stasis secondary to gastric outlet after initiation of enteral feeds is a rare phenomenon. Early recognition and diagnosis of SIBO is critical in minimizing patient morbidity and mortality.

Keywords: Enteral feeding; Gastric cancer; Gastric outlet obstruction; Immunosuppression; Pneumatosis intestinalis; Portal venous gas; Small intestinal overgrowth syndrome.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blind Loop Syndrome* / etiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases*
  • Jejunostomy
  • Jejunum / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Necrosis