The intestinal response to critical illness

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39 Scopus citations


Critical illness is characterized by the presence of several factors that can cause marked alterations in the structure and function of multiple organ systems (1-2). These factors include injury, ischemia, sepsis, and starvation (Fig. 1). It is common for more than one of these problems to be present in the individual patient. Our current understanding of the effect of these various factors on intestinal structure and function has increased markedly during the past decade (3). Furthermore, the patterns of intestinal dysfunction that occur in response to these conditions have also been better characterized. Although malabsorption and motility disorders have long been recognized as clinical problems, more recently loss of intestinal barrier function and immune dysfunction have gained attention. This improved understanding of the response of the intestine to critical illness may lead to prevention of intestinal failure or permit more specific therapy when it occurs. The goals of this manuscript are to describe the response of the small intestine to critical illness and to identify potential therapeutic strategies for preventing and treating intestinal failure in this setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-200
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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