Center for Advanced Intestinal Rehabilitation

Whether detected in utero or after your child is born, a diagnosis of short bowel syndrome (also called intestinal failure or short gut syndrome) can be devastating. This condition can occur when a baby is born with certain birth defects (such as gastroschisis) an insufficient amount of intestine (such as intestinal atresia or stenosis), as the result of an illness called necrotizing enterocolitis or when surgery to correct an intestinal blockage removes too much intestine.

Whatever the cause, short bowel syndrome means that children lack sufficient intestinal function to grow and develop. Children with short bowel syndrome require specialized nutrition support, often including tube feedings or intravenous nutrition. Multiple operations and medications are often required to manage the condition. It's natural to feel overwhelmed by this rare but serious condition — and to wonder if your child is receiving the best possible care.

That's why families from around the world come to the Center for Advanced Intestinal Rehabilitation (CAIR) at Boston Children's Hospital. Our clinicians have decades of experience in treating children with short bowel syndrome, setting the standard of care for managing this complex problem.

Our approach to short bowel syndrome

As the largest and most experienced center of its kind, CAIR is a leader in the treatment of children with short bowel syndrome. Because this condition can affect more than just the gastrointestinal tract, we take a team approach to care for all of our patients. Your child will be seen by group of experienced pediatric specialists, including surgeons, gastroenterologists, dietitians, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, speech and language pathologists, behavioral psychologists and social workers. At CAIR, "multidisciplinary" isn't just a marketing buzzword. This team approach has been clinically proven to improve outcomes: Our survival rate for patients with short bowel syndrome is over 90 percent, compared with the national average of 70 percent. Boston Children's Hospital has been recognized as the number-one center for pediatric gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery by U.S. News and World Report.

Setting the pace for care

Our clinicians don't just follow treatment guidelines - we set them. As pioneers in the research and development of groundbreaking new techniques and therapies, we can provide your child with the latest in care for short bowel syndrome and its complications. The innovative serial transverse enteroplasty procedure (STEP), which lengthens the small intestines of children with short bowel syndrome, was developed and first performed at Boston Children's. Eligible patients also have access to Omegaven, an experimental fish oil-based drug used to treat liver disease associated with use of intravenous nutrition, which was also developed at Boston Children's. We are the only center in New England performing multivisceral and intestinal transplants.

But treatment doesn't end when you and your child leave the hospital. CAIR has strong relationships with our Home Parenteral Nutrition Program and advocacy groups such as the Oley Foundation, NASPGHAN and ASPEN, so you can feel confident you have access to the resources you need at home, too. CAIR has been recognized as a team of distinction by ASPEN.