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ObjectiveTo review the outcome of children with severe neurological impairment (NI) and intestinal failure (IF) referred to our specialist multidisciplinary IF rehabilitation service and to discuss implications.DesignCase report series, descriptive analysis.SettingIF rehabilitation programme at a tertiary children’s hospital in the UK.PatientsChildren with severe NI referred to our IF rehabilitation programme from 2009 to 2019.Main outcome measuresDemographic and social data, diagnosis, clinical condition, use of home parenteral nutrition (HPN), complications, ethics review outcome and advance care plans.ResultsSix patients with severe NI were referred to our IF rehabilitation service. Consent for publication was obtained from five families. After thorough medical review and clinical ethics committee assessment, three children started HPN, one had intravenous fluids in addition to enteral feed as tolerated and one intravenous fluids only. The HPN children survived 3–7.08 years (median 4.42 years) on treatment. Objective gastrointestinal signs, for example, bleeding improved without excessive HPN-related complications. Symptomatic improvement was less clear. Analgesia was reduced in three of the five children. All cases had detailed symptom management and advance care plans regularly updated.ConclusionsHPN can play a role in relieving gastrointestinal signs/symptoms in children with severe NI and IF. HPN can be conceptualised as part of good palliative care if judged to be in the child’s best interests. However, given its risks and that HPN has the potential to become inappropriately life-sustaining, a thorough ethics review and evaluation should be performed before it is initiated, withheld or withdrawn in children with severe NI.

Original publication




Journal article


Archives of Disease in Childhood



Publication Date





365 - 370