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Intestinal replacement therapy: timing and indications for referral of patients to an intestinal rehabilitation and transplant program.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Gastroenterology
0016-5085
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
130
Issue
2 Suppl 1
Identifiers
PMID: 16473063
Source
Medline

Abstract

Current treatment options for patients suffering from intestinal insufficiency include all forms of intestinal replacement therapy (IRT). Parenteral nutrition has achieved extended success for the majority of patients requiring interval treatment, however, complications leading to failure of this treatment increases with the duration of therapy. There is currently no consensus as to the appropriate timing for transplantation of the intestine or the timing of referral for evaluation at a center experienced with this therapy. Certain patient characteristics warrant evaluation. Those patients with no jejunoileum who have guaranteed lifelong parenteral dependence, both adult and pediatric, should be immediately referred to a transplant center due to the high likelihood of the development of liver disease. Patients with metastatic infectious complications from catheter sepsis, patients with cholestasis seen intermittently with sepsis episodes, patients who are not successfully weaning and who demonstrate progressive thrombocytopenia, and patients with motility disorder experiencing deterioration should also warrant early referral to an intestinal rehabilitation and transplant program. The objective of evaluation is to maximize the opportunities for rehabilitation while not missing the critical window of opportunity for successful transplantation when needed. We favor an aggressive directed approach to rehabilitation, coupled with psychological preparation for both transplantations and other options. Early referral requires trust between the patient, referring physician, and the transplant team to assure that a rush to judgment will not lead to a premature transplant. The current wait list mortality is high, mandating early referral and listing with an approach aimed at maximizing both the success of gastrointestinal support, as well as of transplantation when necessary.

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