Neonatal Onset Intestinal Failure: An Italian Multicenter Study

Gennaro Salvia, Alfredo Guarino, Gianluca Terrin, Concetta Cascioli, Roberto Paludetto, Flavia Indrio, Laura Lega, Silvia Fanaro, Mauro Stronati, Luigi Corvaglia, Paolo Tagliabue, Mario De Curtis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To describe the natural course of intestinal failure with onset in the neonatal period to provide data regarding the occurrence and to provide a population-based survey regarding the spectrum of underlying diseases. Study design: We performed a retrospective chart review including infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit of 7 Italian tertiary care centers. Intestinal failure was defined as a primary intestinal disease that induces the need of total parenteral nutrition (PN) for more than 4 weeks or the need of partial PN for more than 3 months. Results: The total number of live births during the study time within the enrolled institutions was 30 353, and the number of newborns admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit was 5088. Twenty-six patients satisfied the definition of intestinal failure; thus the occurrence rate of intestinal failure was 0.1% among live-birth newborns and 0.5% among infants at high risk. The main underlying diseases leading to intestinal failure in neonatal age were congenital intestinal defects (42.3%), necrotizing enterocolitis (30.8%), severe intestinal motility disorder (11.5%), intestinal obstruction (7.7%), structural enterocyte defects (3.8%), and meconium peritonitis (3.8%). After a follow-up of 36 months, 84.6% of patients achieved intestinal competence, 1 patient was still receiving home PN, 1 patient underwent transplantation, and 2 patients died. Cholestatic liver disease was diagnosed in 54% of observed children. Conclusion: An understanding of the incidence, causes, and natural history of intestinal failure would be helpful to appropriately allocate resources and to plan clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Medicine(all)


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