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Small bowel transplantation for intestinal failure is no longer an experimental procedure, but an accepted treatment for patients where total parenteral nutrition (TPN) therapy for intestinal failure is unsuccessful. Early referral for screening for small bowel transplantation should be considered in patients with permanent intestinal failure who have occlusion of more than 2 major veins, frequent line-related septic episodes, impairment of liver function or an unacceptable quality of life. With the increased experience in post-transplant patient care and newer forms of induction (thymoglobulin, IL-2 receptor antagonists) and maintenance (tacrolimus) therapies, the 1-year graft survival has increased to 65% for isolated and to 59% for liver/small bowel transplantation and is further improving. Rejection, bacterial, fungal and viral (Cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr-virus) infections, post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease and graft versus host disease are the most common complications after intestinal transplantation. Although most of the long-term survivors are TPN-independent and have a good quality of life, the risk of the procedure and long-term adverse effects ofimmunosuppressive medication limits small bowel, or liver/small bowel transplantation only to patients with severe complications of TPN therapy.


Journal article


Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd

Publication Date





391 - 398


Adult, Child, Graft Rejection, Graft Survival, Humans, Intestine, Small, Liver, Parenteral Nutrition, Home Total, Postoperative Complications, Quality of Life, Short Bowel Syndrome, Treatment Outcome