Center for Advanced Intestinal Rehabilitation
The prognosis for children with short bowel syndrome varies. A lot depends on the length and function of the child's bowel as well as the health of other organs that assist with digestion and absorption.
Certain patients may require lifelong nutritional support depending on the length and health of the residual small bowel. However, many infants with intestinal surgery are able to be weaned from parenteral nutrition within the first days to weeks of their operation.
One common definition of SBS is a dependence on PN for more than 90 days after surgery. Using this definition, we recently determined that the overall mortality of infants with SBS is approximately 30%.
Prolonged use of PN has been associated with a wide range of liver abnormalities, including elevated blood liver enzymes, jaundice, or rarely, progression to liver scarring and liver failure.
The majority of children with blood abnormalities and/or jaundice have improvement of their liver function if PN can be safely discontinued and enteral nutrition advanced. Once liver damage is advanced, however, this may be irreversible.