Twenty two children were evaluated for small bowel transplantation between 1989 and 1994. Eight were unfit for transplantation and died within three months; a raised plasma bilirubin concentration (> 200 mumol/l) predicted death from liver failure within six months (p = 0.0001). The 11 children who were not managed by a multidisciplinary nutritional care team were less well nourished at referral, had more complications with intravenous feeding catheters, and greater early mortality while awaiting transplantation (p < 0.05). It is recommended that children with chronic intestinal failure be referred for assessment early, before liver dysfunction is established.
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