Last reviewed: November 2017
Last updated: April  2016

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • presence of risk factors
  • weight loss
  • diarrhoea
  • volume depletion
  • peripheral or pre-sacral oedema

Other diagnostic factors

  • fatigue
  • fractures
  • post-prandial epigastric or RUQ abdominal pain
  • dysuria or renal colic
  • abnormal neurological examination
  • jaundice
  • skin rash
  • night blindness
  • motor weakness or altered gait
  • restlessness, proximal muscle weakness
  • excessive bleeding
  • night-day reversal
  • confusion

Risk factors

  • bowel resection
  • extensive abdominal radiation injury
  • gastroschisis

Diagnostic investigations

1st investigations to order

  • FBC
  • serum electrolytes
  • serum urea and creatinine
  • serum albumin
  • serum magnesium, calcium, zinc, selenium, folate
  • vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, and E
  • INR
Full details

Investigations to consider

  • hepatic aminotransferases, alkaline phosphatase, and bilirubin (total and direct)
  • urine analysis
  • faecal fat quantification
  • upper GI contrast series
  • DXA scan
  • abdominal ultrasound
  • CT abdomen
Full details

Treatment algorithm

Contributors

Authors VIEW ALL

Alan Buchman

Director

Center for Gastroenterology and Nutrition

Skokie

IL

Disclosures

AB declares he has no competing interests

Dr Alan Buchman would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Michael Roth, a previous contributor to this monograph. MR is an author of a reference cited in this monograph.

Peer reviewers VIEW ALL

Associate Professor of Medicine

Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

Director

Vanderbilt Center for Human Nutrition

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Nashville

TN

Disclosures

DS has been an advisor for B. Braun and Baxter Healthcare; has received lecture fees from Coram Healthcare, EMD Serono, and Nutrishare; has prepared a newsletter for Mayne Pharma; and has received research funding from Baxter Healthcare and NPS Pharmaceutical.

Hospital Dean

Intestinal Failure Unit

Hope Hospital

Salford

Manchester

UK

Disclosures

Not disclosed. JS is the author of references cited in this monograph.

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