Adult patient living 32 years with postduodenal remnant small bowel of only 35 cm in jejunocolic anastomosis type II weaned off parenteral nutrition. A case report

Etienne El-Helou, Mersad Alimoradi, Hassan Sabra, Jessica Naccour, Marwan M.Haddad, Georges Chahine

Accepted 12 August 2020


The small bowel is an essential organ for maintaining adequate nutrition. Decrease in length could be associated with malnutrition and may require that the patient receives parenteral nutritional support. We report a case of a 59-year-old man who survived32 years with a short bowel of 35 cm length without any parenteral nutrition.

Case presentation
A 59-year-old gentleman, with a history of hypercoagulable state, presented for severe abdominal pain and obstipation of one day’s duration. Upon presentation, the patient was hemodynamically unstable, with abdominal guarding and tenderness upon physical examination. Laboratory studies showed metabolic acidosis with leukocytosis and electrolyte disturbances, and an abdominal CT scan showed thickening of the sigmoid and multiple air-fluid levels. The patient was operated urgently for suspicion of mesenteric ischemia, however, he was found intraoperatively to have a very short dilated small bowel with jejunotransverse anastomosis.

The necessity for surgical resection of the small bowel can arise for a sum of reasons. However, the removal of a big amount of small bowel may not be adaptive and appropriate digestion will no more be possible. In the aftermath of the resection, patients require parenteral nutrition for a certain period after which they may switch to enteral and oral nutrition, and subsequently intestinal adaptation by thickening and growth of the remaining intestinal villi.

Patients with a short bowel, particularly those surgically removed, can survive even with a very short remaining bowel length, as a result of intestinal adaptation, nutrition enhancement, and elimination of parenteral nutrition.

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