The aim of this study was to determine whether fluid homeostasis could be maintained by using a hypo-osmolar (200 to 221 mosmol/kg), relatively low-sodium (50 to 52 mmol/liter) solution that contained a glucose polymer in a 54-year-old patient with high ileostomy output attributed to short-gut syndrome and resultant prerenal azotemia. Sequential balance studies were performed to assess stool and urinary output, stool fat, and urinary electrolytes initially during intravenous rehydration and subsequently during administration of the necessary fluids and nutrients exclusively by oral supplementation. The additional effects of high-fat and low-fat diet, loperamide hydrochloride, and octreotide acetate were evaluated. When the patient sipped a hypo-osmolar oral rehydration solution while she was awake during the day and received a high dose of loperamide and a 40-g fat, disaccharide-free diet, salt and water homeostasis was maintained. The addition of octreotide did not substantially enhance fluid balance; rather, it increased fecal fat and fluid losses from the small bowel. Thus, hypo-osmolar polymeric glucose solutions maintain fluid homeostasis in patients with the short-gut syndrome. In such patients, simple balance studies are useful for assessing the absorptive capacity of the residual intestine, for developing an optimal individualized treatment, and for eliminating the need for costly, long-term home parenteral nutrition.
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