Purpose of review
Intestinal transplantation (ITx), whether isolated or combined with other organs, is now a valid treatment option in some patients with chronic intestinal failure or extensive venous mesenteric thrombosis. The aim in these patients is not only to restore nutritional autonomy, but also to minimize the risk of complications, both short and long term. Despite parenteral nutrition playing a central part in the management of intestinal failure patients, there are little data about the perioperative and postoperative nutritional management of ITx patients, due to small patient populations per centre. In this review, we collected the scientific data available to date.
In this review, we will bundle the limited scientific information about diet after intestinal and multivisceral transplantation combined with recommendations from our own clinical practice in 28 ITx patients in University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium. We will discuss the immediate preoperative period, surgical complications necessitating dietary interventions and the late postoperative phase in a stable outpatient transplant recipient.
Although no specific research has been done in the field of ITx, we can extrapolate some findings from other solid organ transplants. Prehabilitation might prove to be of importance; Preserving kidney and liver function in the pretransplant period should be pursued. Transition from parenteral to enteral and oral nutrition can be complex due to inherent surgical procedures and possible complications. Ultimately, the goal is to give patients nutritional autonomy, while also minimizing the risk of foodborne infections by teaching patients well tolerated food practices.