The role of gastrostomy feeding during intestinal rehabilitation for children with short bowel syndrome

Audelia Eshel Fuhrer*, Hadar Moran-Lev, Yuval Dranitzki, Yoav Ben-Shahar, Igor Sukhotnik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Following extensive bowel resection, many children with short bowel syndrome (SBS) are routinely offered a placement of gastrostomy tube (G-tube) for feeding. This nutritional pathway is aimed to accommodate the gastric and small bowel motor disturbances related to SBS, and to promote weaning off parenteral nutrition (PN) to achieve enteral autonomy (EA). The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of gastrostomy feeding in outcomes of children with SBS. Methods: A retrospective cohort of all SBS children managed at our multidisciplinary Intestinal Rehabilitation Center as part of an Intestinal Rehabilitation Program. SBS was defined as PN dependence for more than six weeks following extensive bowel resection. Patients treated with G-tube feeding were compared with patients without G-tube in terms of PN duration, reaching EA, physical development, and surgical parameters. Results: A total of 36 SBS patients diagnosed between 2003 and 2022 were included. The most common etiologies included congenital intestinal atresia (31%) and necrotizing enterocolitis (25%). SBS-G-tube (group A) contained 20 children, and SBS (group B) contained 16 children. A total of 21 children reached EA (58%); ten from group A (50%), and 11 from group B (69%) (p > 0.05). Within EA patients, mean PN duration was 49 ± 44 months in group A, and 24 ± 33 months in group B (p > 0.05). Patients who reached EA had 22% longer residual small bowel when compared with PN-dependent patients (p = 0.003). However, the outcomes were adjusted for residual small and large bowel length and percentages, a residual ileocecal valve, and a colon in continuity with no differences between the groups. Two-thirds of children from group A reported G-tube related complications (mechanical, bleeding, or infections). We did not find differences in mean height and weight percentiles between the groups (p > 0.05). Conclusion: We did not find significant advantage of gastrostomy feeding in reaching EA. Because there are surgical and mechanical complications related to this procedure, further prospective studies are required to determine G-tube relevance for children with SBS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
JournalPediatric Surgery International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Enteral autonomy
  • Gastrostomy tube
  • Intestinal failure
  • Parenteral nutrition
  • Short bowel syndrome


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