Pediatric Short Bowel Syndrome (Short Gut)
Short bowel syndrome (short gut) is a condition in which nutrients are not properly absorbed because a large portion of the small intestine is missing. It is most often due to a birth defect or due to surgical removal of part of the bowel. Children with short bowel syndrome cannot get enough water, vitamins, and other nutrients from food to thrive.
In older children
Tests and Diagnosis
- Blood tests, which determine nutrient levels absorbed in the bloodstream
- Imaging to determine the length of bowel
- Stool tests to aid in determining bowel function
- Nutrition provided through an IV (parenteral nutrition)
- Nutrition provided through a tube that is surgically inserted into the stomach (enteral nutrition)
- Feeding therapy
- Surgical procedures to enhance bowel absorption
In some cases, medications may be used to treat diarrhea and to slow down the movement of the intestine so it will have more time to absorb water and nutrients.
What is short bowel syndrome?
Short bowel syndrome is a condition in which nutrients are not properly absorbed because a large part of the small intestine is missing.
What causes short bowel syndrome?
Short bowel syndrome is caused by a birth defect or by surgical removal of a portion of the small intestine.
What types of surgery can lead to short bowel syndrome?
In newborns, short bowel syndrome may occur after surgery to treat necrotizing enterocolitis, congenital defects of the bowel or meconium ileus. In older children, short bowel syndrome may occur after surgery to treat Crohn’s disease, cancer, bowel injury or intussusception.
How do I know if my child has short bowel syndrome?
If your child has symptoms of short bowel syndrome, you should have him evaluated by a physician. Symptoms may include diarrhea, fatty stools, abdominal cramping and bloating, weight loss and fatigue.
What tests are used to diagnose short bowel syndrome?
Tests used to diagnose short bowel syndrome include endoscopy, imaging studies, a fecal fat test and blood tests
How is short bowel syndrome treated?
Treatments for short bowel syndrome may include lifestyle changes, nutritional support, medications or transplant surgery.