Who needs a gut anyway?

  • Esther Ha Gyeong Park College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Stuart J Fergusson College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Connor Johnston College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Hani Syaza Syahirah Zakaria College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Jay Roe Tan College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Matthew Wood College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Xavier Kai Yang Tay College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Keywords: Parenteral Nutrition, Total Parenteral Nutrition, Home Parenteral Nutrition, Chronic Intestinal Failure, Enteral Nutrition, Bowel Transplant, Quality of Life


This is an up-to-date review on Chronic Intestinal Failure (CIF) and Parenteral Nutrition (PN) as a management strategy for CIF.

CIF and long-term PN are important subjects, but are superficially covered in undergraduate curricula due to the perception that they are relatively specialist areas. PN, as well as being a form of acute nutritional support, is used as a life-sustaining measure for patients with CIF due to conditions such as bowel ischaemia and Crohn’s disease. Currently, around 500 patients receive long-term PN in the UK and the numbers are expected to rise with the aging population1. It is a costly service, requiring a multidisciplinary team effort, along with high frequency patient-healthcare interaction.

This article aims to discuss the current evidence on the causes, management and prognosis of CIF, with a particular focus on PN as a form of nutritional management. While PN seems to improve the prognosis of patients with CIF from a medical point of view, we will also explore how it affects other aspects of a patient’s life, such as their social life and mental health. 

Author Biography

Esther Ha Gyeong Park, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

I am a second year medical student at Edinburgh. 

I have recently taken interest in medical research and academic publishing, and joined Res Medica editorial board to gain more insight into the processes behind them.

My role at Res Medica as a communications editor (UK) involves corresnponding with medical schools and organisations within the UK to promote Res Medica and its activities. I also communicate with sponsors.

I am quite interested in obstetrics as a specialty and would like to work in developing countries, improving the health services in low-resource settings.

Besides medicine, I enjoy cooking Korean food, hillwalking, and listening to classical music.


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How to Cite
Park, E., Fergusson, S., Johnston, C., Zakaria, H., Tan, J., Wood, M., & Tay, X. (2014). Who needs a gut anyway?. Res Medica, 22(1), 37-50. https://doi.org/10.2218/resmedica.v22i1.813
Clinical Review Article