Short bowel syndrome refers to a condition where a child's intestines are not long enough to allow them to absorb food properly. This usually occurs because they have had a large portion of their bowel surgically removed because of another disease such as NEC or gastroschisis.
These children are not able to grow properly as they cannot absorb enough nutrients from their food. Because of this they may require long term intravenous nutrition where nutrients are infused directly into their veins through a vascular access device or line. These lines are usually surgically inserted in theatre and most children will require more than one line over time.
The aim of treatment is to provide enough nutrition via the oral and intravenous route to allow your child to grow. Over time their intestines may adapt and grow, allowing them to wean off intravenous nutrition. Sometimes surgery is required to lengthen the available bowel and improve absorption of nutrients.
Dr Stevens is fortunate to work in conjunction with the paediatric gastroenterologists at Mediclinic Midstream to manage these usually very complex cases.