Up-to-date evolution of small bowel transplantation in children with intestinal failure

Dominique Jan, Jean Luc Michel, Olivier Goulet, Sabine Sarnacki, Florence Lacaille, Diane Damotte, Jean Pierre Cezard, Yves Aigrain, Nicole Brousse, Michel Peuchmaur, Annick Rengeval, Virginie Colomb, Philippe Jouvet, Claude Ricour, Yann Révillon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Purpose: The aim of the authors was to report an up-to-date review of their experience with 26 intestinal transplantations in children since 1987. Methods: A retrospective study was conducted of 26 patients with a mean age of 5 years (range, 0.3 to 14 years). Three groups were isolated. In group A (1987 to 1990), seven patients received nine isolated intestinal transplants for short bowel syndrome. Immunosuppression therapy consisted of cyclosporine, aziathioprine, and corticosteroids. In group B (1994-current), nine patients received nine isolated intestinal transplants for short bowel syndrom (n = 2), intestinal pseudoobstruction (n = 2), neonatal intractable diarrhea (n = 3), and Hirschsprung' disease (n = 1); hepatic biopsy results showed weak cholestasis or fibrosis. In group C (1994-current), 10 patients received 10 combined liver-small bowel transplants for short bowel syndrome (n = 3), neonatal intractable diarrhea (n = 4), and Hirschsprung' disease (n = 3); hepatic cirrhosis related to total parenteral nutrition (TPN) was shown in all cases. Groups B and C received immunosupressive treatment consisting of tacrolimus, aziathioprine, and corticosteroids. Posttransplant follow-up included intestinal biopsies of the small bowel twice a week and more frequently or combined with liver biopsy if rejection was suspected. Results: Overall patient survival (PS) and graft survival (GS) are 61% (16 of 26) and 50% (13 of 26), respectively. In group A, severe intestinal allograft rejection occurred in six patients leading to graft removal (GS, 11%). Five patients died of TPN complications after graft removal (PS, 28%). One survivor is off TPN, and one currently is waiting for a second graft. In group B, six patients survived (PS, 66%). Causes of death include hepatic failure (n = 1), renal and liver failure (n = 1), and systemic infection (n = 1). Severe intestinal allograft rejection occurred in five patients, which necessitated aggressive immunosuppression (antilymphocyte serum) leading to an incomplete functional recovery of the graft. Only two patients currently are off TPN. In group C, eight patients survived (PS, 80%) all of which are currently off TPN. One patient died during the procedure, and one died of severe systemic infection. Intestinal graft rejection occurred in six patients; rejection of the liver allograft occurred in five patients, yet all rejections were weak and successfully treated by corticosteroids (GS, 80%). Conclusions: Intestinal trans plantation is a valid therapeutic option for children with definitive intestinal failure and not only for short bowel syndrome. Tacrolimus improves graft and patient survival (group A v group B). The lower severity of graft rejection in combined liver-small bowel trans plantation improves functional results of intestinal transplantation in children without additional mortality or morbidity (group B v group C).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-844
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Intestinal failure
  • Intestinal transplantation
  • Liver transplantation
  • Short gut

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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