JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Small bowel transplantation. A life-saving option for selected patients with intestinal failure.

Thirty-seven patients were listed for small bowel transplantation; 16 were transplanted and 15 died while waiting for a donor. Cyclosporine (N = 6) or tacrolimus (N = 10) were used for immune suppression. Graft rejection rates were lower in the combined liver/small bowel grafts than the isolated intestinal transplants (1/7 vs 5/7; P < 0.01) All of the cyclosporine group have died; the median survival was 25.7 months with two patients living more than five years. The tacrolimus group had fewer infections and a shorter hospital stay. All but two are alive with a median survival of 13 months. Seven of eight long-term survivors are off intravenous feedings. We conclude that small bowel transplantation is a life-saving option for patients with intestinal failure who cannot be maintained on total parenteral nutrition.

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