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Short Bowel Syndrome

Short bowel syndrome (SBS) is a disease involving the physical or functional loss of the small intestine. Typically, individuals with less than 200 centimeters(half) of functional small intestine suffer from short bowel syndrome.  The most common cause of SBS is surgical resection, resulting from complications of Crohn’s Disease, cancer, birth defects of the bowel, or trauma.  Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory condition of the small intestine, is the most common predisposing condition in adults.  Necrotizing enterocolitis, a neonatal infection, is the most common cause in infants.  The small intestine is responsible for 90% of nutrient and water absorption with each of the three sections; duodenum, jejunum, and ileum all absorbing unique nutrients.   

Symptoms related to short bowel syndrome include, but are not limited to:

  • Diarrhea (Most common)
  • Cramping
  • Heartburn
  • Bloating
  • Dehydration  
  • Malnutrition
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Bacterial Infections

Individuals with short bowel syndrome may require nutrition support.  This could be in the form of a specialized diet, supplements, or receiving infused nutrition and fluids in a vein. Intravenous nutrition is also called “total parenteral nutrition” (TPN).   The severity of the underlying cause, the amount of functional intestine left, and other factors may require long-term or lifetime dependence on TPN. 

Current drug therapy for use in short bowel syndrome at Accredo includes:

  • Gattex®
  • Zorbtive®

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