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A Journal on Surgery

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Minerva Chirurgica 2002 October;57(5):543-60

language: English

The current status and future outlook of intestinal transplantation

Abu-Elmagd K., Bond G.


Recently, the clinical reality of intestinal, combined liver-intestinal, and multivisceral transplantation qualified the procedure by the American Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) as the standard of care for patients with irreversible intestinal failure. The decision was supported by a decade of clinical experience with cumulative improvement in survival. Prior to tacrolimus, the worldwide experience was plagued with uncontrolled rejection, graft versus host disease (GVHD), and fatal infection. These undefeated barriers stemmed from the large gut lymphoid mass and heavy microbial load contained in the intestinal lumen with the absence of an effective immunosuppressive and antimicrobial therapy. With the emerge of small bowel and multivisceral transplantation in 1990, multiple factors, in addition to the clinical introduction of tacrolimus, have sustained and increased these efforts including evolution in surgical techniques and improvements in postoperative care. The most valuable achievement, however, has been the effective control of rejection and treatment of life threatening opportunistic infections.
This chapter outlines the common current practice, surgical techniques and postoperative management of the three different types of intestinal transplantation. In addition, new strategies to overcome some of the current immunologic and biologic challenges are defined with the aim of raising the level of such a creative surgery to be a better therapy for TPN dependent patients.

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