Extensive resection of the small bowel results in impaired digestion of macronutrients and malabsorption of nutrients, fluid, electrolytes, and minerals. Gastric acid hypersecretion and alterations in gut hormonal response further contribute to the problem. Diarrhea, dehydration, electrolyte and acid/base abnormalities, and macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies ensue, and is termed the short bowel syndrome (SBS). Rare disorders, such as essential fatty acid deficiency and D-lactic acidosis, are a greater concern for the SBS patient. These patients’ lives are significantly impacted, and they require close monitoring by a medical team knowledgeable about the disease and its nutritional, metabolic, and psychosocial consequences. Immediate therapies are directed toward fluid resuscitation, wound healing, and initiation of early nutrition support. After medical stabilization, multiple nutritional and medicinal therapies are used to aid bowel adaptation and prevent medical crisis. Advanced practice nurses should be knowledgeable about SBS to educate patients and families about this disease, associated therapies and changes in lifestyle, and how to detect and manage acute changes in medical condition.

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