Microvillus Inclusion Disease Treatment & Management

Updated: Oct 06, 2017
  • Author: Stefano Guandalini, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Medical Care

Several drugs have been tried to counteract the massive secretory diarrhea in patients with microvillus atrophy; however, none has proven effective. At present, the only available therapy is total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Agents tentatively given to induce a better growth of the intestinal mucosa (eg, epithelial growth factor, colostrum) are ineffective. Antisecretagogue agents (eg, somatostatin, octreotide, loperamide, chlorpromazine) can reduce the stool output, but the clinical significance of this effect is marginal.


Surgical Care

Successful transplantation of the small intestine may allow for the patient's survival without TPN. Transplantation appears to be the only option for patients who do not fare well with long-term TPN (eg, because of sepsis, liver damage, lack of vascular access). Although only small series have been reported, evidence suggests that early small-bowel transplantation should be performed.

The analysis of 16 patients who underwent a small-bowel transplantation [18] shows anyway a lower death rate compared to those who did not (23% versus 37%) after an average 3.5 years observation period (but variable between 3 mo and 14 y). In all of the cases, apart from the first 2, the colon had been transplanted too.



In most patients with early-onset MVID, no intake by mouth is possible. In the late-onset variant, minimal oral intake may be possible.

Except for rare, documented exceptions, no improvement of the condition is observed. Food intolerance remains complete in the overwhelming majority of patients described.

Long-term nutritional support is accomplished with TPN.

For patients in whom transplantation is successful, a gradual return to a normal diet is considered possible.