Treatment of intestinal failure: intestinal transplantation.
Over the past 15 years, intestinal transplantation for the treatment of intestinal failure has changed from a desperate last-ditch effort into a standard therapy for which a good outcome is expected. Patient survival after intestinal transplantation has improved in the past 3-5 years and now approaches that of other solid organ allograft recipients, including liver and kidney, and is similar to survival on permanent therapy with parenteral nutrition. Complications are more common and often more severe during the initial hospitalization period after intestinal transplantation than they are after transplantation of other solid organs. After intestinal transplantation the initial hospitalization period is, therefore, usually 3-8 weeks long. Nearly all patients discharged after intestinal transplantation have good allograft function and have been weaned from total parenteral nutrition. The cost of the initial hospitalization period is one to two times the cost of permanent total parenteral nutrition for 1 year, which means that, in most cases, intestinal transplantation is cost-saving within 2 years of transplantation. In addition, quality of life after intestinal transplantation, as determined by standardized quality of life measures, is good or normal.
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