Pediatric Intestinal Transplant Conditions We Treat

Conditions that may require intestinal transplantation include:

  • Short bowel syndrome, also called short-gut. This condition occurs when part of the small intestine is missing, making it difficult to absorb nutrients from food. We treat short bowel syndrome due to: 
    • Intestinal malrotation with volvulus. When the small intestine doesn’t form correctly in the womb, it can become twisted in a condition called intestinal malrotation. Sometimes it twists around a main blood vessel in the digestive tract, cutting off blood flow to the small intestine in a life-threatening condition called volvulus.
    • This birth defect causes a baby’s intestines to grow outside the body. Surgery is conducted shortly after birth to put the intestines back inside, but sometimes the intestines fail, leaving a child with a shorter or dysmotile bowel requiring nutrition support.
    • Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). A serious illness in premature infants where tissue in the large intestine (small bowel or colon) gets inflamed or damaged, or dies.
    • Hirschsprung disease, also known as aganglionosis. This rare birth defect affects the large intestine, making it hard to move food and waste.
    • Injury (trauma). When an accident occurs that damages a child’s abdomen and intestines.
  • Congenital intestinal atresia, also known as small bowel atresia. A birth defect that causes the small intestine to become blocked. There are different types, depending on the area that is blocked, including pyloric atresia, duodenal atresia, and jejunoileal atresia, the most common.
  • Poor intestinal absorption, also called malabsorption. In this condition, a child’s body doesn’t break down food and absorb nutrients well for a variety of reasons, including Crohn’s disease and failure to thrive.
  • Pseudo obstruction syndrome. A rare, chronic condition where the muscles in the intestines do not contract normally, causing symptoms that mimic an actual bowel obstruction, including abdominal pain, swelling, nausea, vomiting, and constipation.
  • Intestinal failure. When the intestines no longer work well enough to sustain growth and nutrition, requiring either ongoing TPN support or intestinal transplant.
  • Intestinal failure associated liver disease. When the liver no longer works well enough to sustain life, requiring liver or intestinal transplantation.
  • Intestinal tumors. Cancerous or noncancerous masses in the intestines:
    • Gardner’s disease (intestinal polyposis). Growths in a child’s intestines that can become cancer, typically in the colon.
    • Desmoid tumors. A fast-growing, usually noncancerous tumor that resembles scar tissue and grows in the walls of the abdomen.
  • Visceral myopathy. A very rare condition that causes the smooth muscle of the GI tract to atrophy, impairing the function of the intestines.