Short Bowel Syndrome

Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) causes a reduced capability to absorb important nutrients without assistance

SBS is a rare, chronic, and debilitating condition resulting in significantly reduced or complete loss of intestinal function. In the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 7,500 people living with SBS with intestinal failure who are dependent on parenteral support.

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Life-long dependency on parenteral support

Short bowel syndrome (SBS) is a complex disease that occurs due to the physical loss of half or more of the small intestine, most often due to surgical removal. As a result, individuals with SBS often have a reduced ability to absorb nutrients and fluids. In more severe cases, referred to as SBS with intestinal failure (SBS-IF), patients are dependent on complex parenteral support (PS) to sustain life. PS is a way to receive nutrients by bypassing the digestive system through an intravenous catheter.

SBS with intestinal failure is associated with significant medical complications, including liver and renal failure, metabolic complications, chronic fatigue, and life-threatening infections. Although lifesaving, management of PS is associated with a significant burden on healthcare systems and reduction in quality of life for patients and their families.

SBS can be treated in highly specialized, multi-disciplinary centers, involving the use of agents that promote rehabilitation of the intestinal lining, such as GLP-2 analogs. The only currently available GLP-2 treatment requires weight-adjusted, daily subcutaneous dosing via vial and syringe that involves a multi-step reconstitution process. More efficacious and convenient treatments to further reduce PS are needed, with the ultimate goal of achieving enteral autonomy.

Short Bowel Syndrome with intestinal failure is a debilitating disease that seriously impacts quality of life. Nutrient malabsorption may lead to severe malnutrition and dehydration if not treated with intravenous parenteral support, or PS. The symptoms of SBS-IF and potential PS complications impose significant life restrictions and daily challenges.

Palle Bekker Jeppesen

Clinical Professor, Department of Clinical Medicine (Gastro-enterology and Hepatology) at the University of Copenhagen

Patient stories

Marianne lives with Short Bowel Syndrome

Short Bowel Syndrome

Marianne was diagnosed with cancer of the small intestine and became a short bowel patient. Today, she manages to live a life on home parenteral nutrition and works as a pastor.

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Mike gets back in the game while living with SBS

Short Bowel Syndrome

Dependent on parenteral support to survive, Mike must connect to infusion equipment for eight hours a day, six days a week. Reducing the complexity – and time spent – for parenteral support enabled this driven college football coach to get back in the game.

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Will works to reduce his need for parenteral support

Short Bowel Syndrome

After a stomach pain and a black out in his home, then 13-year old Will was rushed to a local hospital in New Jersey, where the doctors discovered a volvulus and most of his small intestine was removed.

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The Oley Foundation

We work with patient communities to better understand the lives of people with severe medical conditions.

The Oley Foundation is a non-profit home nutrition therapy community and advocacy group.

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