Background: Few studies have examined the metabolic consequences of short bowel syndrome (SBS) and its effects on body composition in adults. We hypothesized that body composition of SBS patients is altered compared to a normal age-, race-, and sex-matched population, regardless of parenteral nutrition (PN) dependence. Aim: To compare the body composition of adult patients with SBS to age-, sex-, and race-matched healthy controls. Methods: Twenty patients with SBS underwent body composition analysis using the GE Lunar iDXA scanner. Patients were age-, sex-, and race-matched to controls from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999–2004). Mean differences in body mass index, fat-free mass, fat mass, percent body fat, visceral adipose tissue mass and volume, and bone mineral density were measured. Statistical analysis was performed using SAS 9.4 software. Results: Fifty-five percent of subjects had a history of PN use, and 30% were current PN users. Mean percent body fat for SBS patients was 35.1% compared to 30.9% for healthy controls (p = 0.043). Fat-free mass was reduced in SBS (p = 0.007). Patients with reduced bone mass had a trend toward significantly more years of PN exposure compared to those with normal bone mass (p = 0.094), and a trend toward older age (p = 0.075). Conclusions: SBS is associated with increased percent body fat and reduced fat-free mass, suggesting that improved dietary and therapeutic interventions are needed to restore normal metabolic indices and avoid risk of metabolic syndrome in SBS patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3271-3279
Number of pages9
JournalDigestive diseases and sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Body composition
  • Body mass index
  • Intra-abdominal fat
  • Parenteral nutrition
  • Short bowel syndrome


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