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Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation

At the UPMC Gastrointestinal Rehabilitation and Transplant Program, our mission is to restore diet and quality of life for patients with intestinal failure. UPMC leads the nation in intestinal transplant volume, performing more than 660 adult and pediatric intestinal transplants since 1988.

As one of the nation’s most experienced intestinal failure and transplant programs, we offer medical and surgical treatments, intestinal rehabilitation services, and intestinal transplantation when intestinal failure is irreversible. Our program’s rich history of innovation and clinical expertise ensures comprehensive digestive care for all types of gastrointestinal disorders, and we routinely accept some of the most complex cases.

Comprehensive Care for Your Patient

The UPMC Gastrointestinal Rehabilitation and Transplant Program’s multidisciplinary group of experts strives to eliminate the need for intravenous nutritional support, explores transplantation for those who can no longer tolerate TPN, and reestablishes lifestyle and diet. The team of surgeons, transplant coordinators, gastroenterologists, dietitians, pharmacists, and other professionals ensures ongoing communication, quality care, and personalized support for intestinal transplant recipients.

Our team also includes you – the referring physician. We will work with you and your team to ensure a seamless referral process and will collaborate with you to develop an individualized treatment plan that best fits the unique needs of your patient.

Intestinal Transplant Eligibility

At UPMC, we evaluate every patient referred to us to determine the best treatment option for them. We accept traditional and complex, high-risk cases. Our team evaluates patients with the following conditions or risk factors:

  • Cannot tolerate TPN
  • Short gut syndrome (often caused by Crohn’s disease, vascular occlusion, abdominal trauma, bowel obstruction syndrome, motility problems, or desmoid or neuroendocrine tumors)
  • Benign or malignant tumors
  • Portal mesenteric vein thrombosis

Candidates for Intestinal Rehabilitiation

People with all types of gastrointestinal disorders may qualify for intestinal rehabilitation. Patients who have intestinal failure due to short bowel syndrome caused by the following may be eligible:

  • End-stage Crohn’s disease
  • Gastric bypass surgery complications
  • Abdominal visceral disorders
  • Complex abdominal pathology
  • Abdominal trauma
  • Enterocutaneous fistulas
  • Short-gut syndrome
  • Intestinal failure
  • Mesenteric ischemia
  • Intestinal pseudo-obstruction syndrome
  • Radiation enteritis
  • Irresectible abdominal tumors
  • Desmoid tumors or aggressive fibromatosis
  • Recurrent small bowel obstruction or adhesions
  • Gastroparesis
  • Superior mesenteric artery syndrome (SMAS)
  • Median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS)
  • Portal hypertension
  • Portal mesenteric vein thrombosis
  • Ostomy closure
  • Other gut disorders

When to Refer a Patient

To best implement this model of care, we need to start working with you and your patients early in their disease progression. Delaying the evaluation process can:

  • Allow more time for your patient’s disease to progress
  • Cause further decline in their overall health
  • Decrease their chances of being a suitable candidate for intestinal transplantation

Referring a patient early means that we have more time to work with you to discuss the patient’s needs and medical history to determine the optimal care.

To refer a patient to UPMC: