Background: Pediatric short bowel syndrome (SBS) is a malabsorptive state placing patients at risk for malnutrition, dehydration, and bacterial overgrowth. These patients are often dependent on parenteral nutrition (PN) while intestinal adaptation is underway. The aim of this study was to characterize the effect of remnant small bowel length on the gut microbiome. Further, we sought to examine the contribution of clinical and nutritional variables to the gut microbiota and anthropometric growth. Study Design: Clinical data, anthropometrics, and fecal samples were collected from 14 SBS patients and 10 age- and sex-matched controls. Fecal bacterial DNA composition was analyzed using 16s ribosomal RNA gene sequencing. Statistical analysis was completed using the Mann-Whitney or Fisher's exact tests when applicable and linear mixed effect modeling. Results: Distinct microbiota changes were found among those with the least remaining small bowel (<35 cm) compared with those with longer remaining bowel and controls. Those with <35 cm small bowel displayed an increased relative abundance of Proteobacteria, while those with longer remaining small bowel had a higher proportion of Firmicutes. Further, patients with less remaining bowel required more PN (p < 0.01), with a tendency to be shorter in height (p = 0.05) and with a higher BMI (p = 0.05). Conclusions: Remnant small bowel length appears to be a predictor of stunting with diminished linear growth, parenteral nutrition dependency, and a greater relative abundance of Proteobacteria in the gut. These findings suggest an integrated adaptive response predicted by remnant intestinal length. Further research is necessary to examine the effects of intestinal dysbiosis on clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-449
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2018


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