Purpose of review: Short gut syndrome is life-altering and life-threatening disease resulting most often from massive small bowel resection. Recent advances in understanding of the perturbed physiology in these patients have translated into improved care and outcomes. This paper seeks to review the advances of care in SBS patients. Recent findings: Anatomic considerations still predominate the early care of SBS patients, including aggressive preservation of bowel and documentation of remnant bowel length and quality. Intestinal adaptation is the process by which remnant bowel changes to fit the physiologic needs of the patient. Grossly, the bowel dilates and elongates to increase intestinal weight and protein content. Architectural changes are noted, such as villus lengthening and deepening of crypts. In addition, gene expression changes occur that function to maximize nutrient uptake and fluid preservation. Management is aimed at understanding these physiologic changes and augmenting them whenever possible in an effort to gain enteral autonomy. Complication mitigation is key, including avoidance of catheter complications, bloodstream infections, cholestasis, and nutrient deficiencies. Summary: Multidisciplinary teams working together towards intestinal rehabilitation have shown improved outcomes. Today’s practitioner needs a current understanding of the ever-evolving care of these patients in order to promote enteral autonomy, recognize complications, and counsel patients and families appropriately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-505
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Pediatrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Intestinal adaptation
  • Intestinal failure
  • Parenteral nutrition
  • Short bowel syndrome


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