This is (supposed to be) a reflective diary by a (not very) anonymous biomedical scientist who works somewhere in the south of England.
One day this diary may well be submitted to the Health Professions Council as evidence of ongoing continual professional development....
Short bowel syndrome is a malabsorption disorder usually caused by the small intestine being of unusually short length. Usually as a result of surgery, or more rarely due to the complete dysfunction of a large segment of bowel. The syndrome does not manifest unless more than two thirds of the small intestine have been removed or are absent.
Most cases are acquired (obviously!): short bowel syndrome caused by the surgical removal of a portion of the bowel may be a temporary condition, due to the adaptive property of the small intestine. Physiological changes to the remaining portion of the small intestine occur to increase its absorptive capacity. These changes include:
Enlargement and lengthening of the villi
Increase in the diameter of the small intestine
Slow down in peristalsis through the small intestine
Some children are born with a congenital short bowel. In these cases the 4-year survival rate on parenteral nutrition is approximately 70%. In newborn infants with less than 10% of expected intestinal length, 5 year survival is approximately 20%.
Some studies suggest that much of the mortality is due to a complication of the TPN, especially chronic liver disease.
Although promising, small intestine transplant has a mixed success rate, with postoperative mortality rate of up to 30%. One-year and 4-year survival rate are 90% and 60%, respectively.
On further research I found that Giant Pandas effectively all have short bowel syndrome: having the gut of a carnivore and the diet of a herbivore....
Of professional relevance to me are the various nutritional anaemias that are far more likely to develop in SBS than in the average person, but personally I'm intrigued by the pandas...