The role of intestinal transplantation in the Management of intestinal failure

Fryer Jonathan Paul*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Significantly reduced morbidity and mortality is needed before intestinal transplantation will be applicable in most patients with intestinal failure who are on long-term total parenteral nutrition (TPN). However, transplantation does play a role if TPN fails, with failure defined by Medicare as liver failure, frequent line sepsis, major central vein thrombosis, or recurrent dehydration. Of these complications, the relationship between liver failure and subsequent death in high-risk subgroups of long-term TPN patients has been shown clearly. Patients with less than 100 cm of postduodenal small bowel, an end-jejunostomy, no ileocecal valve or cecum, or persistently elevated liver function levels are at high risk for end-stage liver disease (ESLD). Early referral to experienced centers is suggested in these circumstances. High-risk patients may also take part in clinical trials of promising therapies to increase intestinal adaptation and prevent liver failure. Living donors should be considered for transplant candidates to minimize waiting time and optimize HLA matching. ESLD patients need a liver-intestine transplant. Because their waiting-list mortality is very high, their status on the liver waiting list should be elevated if possible. High incidence of early death from sepsis is reported after intestinal transplant, even at experienced centers. Aggressive measures should be taken if uncontrolled sepsis occurs, including discontinuing immunosuppression and removing the graft. Further research is needed in intestinal immunology and in development of strategies to decrease the need for aggressive immunosuppression in these transplant recipents. The ultimate role of intestinal transplantation will be determined by its capacity to show superiority, both in effectiveness and safety, to long-term TPN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-342
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent gastroenterology reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Home Parenteral Nutrition
  • Intestinal Failure
  • Intestinal Transplantation
  • Small Bowel Transplantation
  • Total Parenteral Nutrition Solution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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