The past few years have witnessed a considerable shift in the clinical status of intestinal transplantation. A great deal of experience has been gained at the most active centers, and results comparable with those reported at a similar stage in the development of other solid-organ graft programs are now being achieved by these highly proficient transplant teams. Rejection and its inevitable associate, sepsis, remain ubiquitous, and new immunosuppressant regimes are urgently needed; some may already be on the near horizon. The recent success of isolated intestinal grafts, together with the mortality and morbidity attendant upon the development of advanced liver disease related to total parenteral nutrition, has prompted the bold proposal that patients at risk for this complication should be identified and should receive isolated small bowel grafts before the onset of end-stage hepatic failure. The very fact that such a suggestion has begun to emerge reflects real progress in this challenging field.
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