Objective: The authors reviewed their experience with short-bowel syndrome to define the surgical approach to this problem in 160 patients.
Methods: Forty-eight adults and 112 children were evaluated over a 15-year period.
Results: Seventy-one patients (44%) adapted to resection and took enteral nutrition alone. Forty-four patients (28%) were supported by parenteral nutrition (PN). Forty-five patients (28%) have had 49 surgical procedures. Fifteen patients with adequate intestinal length (> 120 cm in adults) but dilated dysfunctional bowel underwent stricturoplasty (n = 4) or tapering (n = 11). Thirteen patients (87%) demonstrated clinical improvement. Fourteen patients with shorter remnants (90-120 cm) and rapid transit time received an artificial valve (n = 2) or a reversed segment (n = 1). All patients' conditions improved initially, but the reversed segment was revised or taken down. Fourteen patients with short remnants and dilated bowel underwent intestinal lengthening. Twelve patients' conditions improved (86%), one underwent transplantation, and one died. Sixteen patients with very short remnants (< 60 cm) and complications of PN underwent solitary intestine (n = 4) or combined liver-intestinal transplantation (n = 13). One-year graft survival was 65%. There have been five deaths.
Conclusions: The surgical approach to short-bowel syndrome depends on the patient's age, remnant length and caliber, intestinal function, and PN-related complications. Nontransplant procedures have a role in the treatment of selected patients. Intestinal transplantation is emerging as a potential therapy for patients with significant PN-related complications.