Massive small bowel resection during pregnancy causing short bowel syndrome

Elena Boland, Jon S. Thompson, Wendy J. Grant, Jean Botha, Alan N. Langnas, David F. Mercer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Massive small bowel infarction in pregnancy is rare but has devastating complications. Diagnosis is difficult because pregnancy masks the symptoms. Our aim was to assess risk factors and outcomes of massive resection associated with pregnancy. We conducted a review of nine patients with short bowel syndrome (SBS) secondary to massive bowel resection during pregnancy. The most common cause of bowel resection was midgut volvulus in seven patients. Four of these also had malrotation. Three others had previous abdominal operations, including gastric bypass. The two remaining patients had vascular insufficiency. Five of the nine patients presented after a cesarean delivery. There were three fetal deaths. Resulting small bowel length was less than 60 cm in all but one patient. All patients required parenteral nutrition (PN). Seven patients developed significant complications related to SBS and long-term PN. Four patients underwent transplantation. Massive small bowel resection during pregnancy is a devastating complication, which requires a high degree of suspicion to diagnose. Most patients have risk factors, which include previous surgery, congenital malrotation, and a hypercoagulable state. Surviving patients usually need long-term PN or transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1589-1592
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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