Intestinal Failure Treatment

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Sahlgrenska Intestinal Failure and Transplant Center  (SIFT) is the only program in Scandinavia offering new and successful surgical and medical treatment options for adults and children suffering from debilitating and life-threatening intestinal diseases. The center opened its doors at the beginning of 2019, but Sahlgrenska University Hospital has been caring for patients with intestinal failure in the province of Västra Götaland since 1981 as well as patients requiring visceral transplantation from all across Sweden and Norway (from 1998).  

Intestinal failure and intestinal transplantation 

Intestinal failure is a condition defined as the reduction of gut function that leads to a reduced absorption resulting in a need of intravenous supplementation to maintain health and/or growth. Before the development of parenteral nutrition (PN) these conditions led to certain deaths. People with parenteral nutrition are debilitated by not only their daily nocturnal feeds and failure to thrive but also a decreased quality of life and frequent hospital admissions due to e.g. septicemia, thrombosis, and dehydration. 

The importance of providing a holistic care is essential in both preventing complications and improving outcome. The long term use of PN can however be associated with life-threatening complications in a subset of patients. In those candidates, isolated intestine or liver- containing (combined liver and small bowel or multivisceral) transplantation is now considered the best viable treatment option. 

Why choose Sahlgrenska Intestinal Failure and Transplant Center (SIFT)? 

We have an extensive experience of both intestinal failure and intestinal transplantation. Considerable research is being performed to further improve the outcome in our cohort. As a result of our efforts patient survival after transplantation matches those of the largest centers in the world. 

Our sections consists of clinical nutrition, gastroenterology, colo-rectal surgery and transplant surgery for both adult and pediatric patients. These fields are closely linked together with the same organization where joint clinics and meetings are held on a bi-weekly basis. 

SIFT is part of the Department of Internal Medicine, a subdivision of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital. 

How can I refer a patient for treatment? 

  • Contact a patient coordinator and they will connect you with the SIFT team. 
  • Every referral will be discussed in a multidisciplinary conference. 
  • A letter will be sent to the referring physician with instructions on how to proceed e.g. further investigations prior to our assessment. 
  • The patient gets admitted to a ward in either the medical, surgical or transplant section depending on the need of each patient and a comprehensive plan will be outlined there. 
  • Conference calls are held with the referring physician prior to the assessment and later on as needed. 

Get to know the team 

SIFT consists of a multi-disciplinary team that offers a comprehensive approach. The team consists of gastroenterologists, colo-rectal surgeons, transplant surgeons, paediatric surgeons, anaesthetists, interventional radiologists, dieticians, psychologists, specialist nurses, nurse coordinator and a dedicated medical and surgical director. 

”Our goal is to improve the management of patients with intestinal failure by functioning as a second opinion unit and offering state of the art medical and surgical care.  Asthe only intestinal transplant center in Scandinavia we possess a unique quality to offer the best available treatment to any type of patient, both complex and simple.” - Jan Brun, Director of SIFT.

Jan Brun

MD, Gastroenterologist, senior consultant, Department of Medicine Sahlgrenska. Head of Center.

"My ambition is to refine and develop the multidisciplinary care provided to this challenging group of chronichly ill patients together with my skilled and dedicated colleagues working within various fields."

Gustaf Herlenius

MD, Associate professor, FEBS. Director of visceral transplant program at Sahlgrenska University Hospital since 2000. Senior surgeon with experience in the field of solid organ transplantation since 1995. 

”Our long-term commitment has been to create a comprehensive multidisciplinary intestinal rehabilitation and transplantation center at Sahlgrenska University Hospital with the ultimate goal to provide a platform for national, Nordic and European collaboration in the management of patients with intestinal failure and other life-threatening conditions amenable to visceral transplantation.” 

Viktoria Westerlund 

RN, specilized within intensive care and primary health care. Coordinator and nurse specialist at SIFT. 

“I started my nursing career in 1998 and worked for several years in the intensive care unit in Sweden, Norway and United States. The years before my assignment at SIFT I worked within home health and primary health care. With this background I hope to serve as a resource for patients with intestinal failure. I respect the complexity of their medical problems and needs for an easy and qualitative access with their team at SIFT.”  

Jonas Varkey


After commencing the post as a Consultant in Gastroenterologist & Hepatology at Sahlgrenska University hospital he underwent a fellowship program in intestinal failure and intestinal & multivisceral transplantation at the Cambridge University Hospital. Alongside providing medical care and management he currently holds a research position in both Sahlgrenska and Cambridge, research pertains to improving the diagnostic modalities for surveillance of the transplanted intestinal graft which ultimately may result in an improved outcome. 

”With continuous innovations in medical and surgical management we as a center have the unique possibility to improve the outcome for our patients by state of the art techniques, international collaboration and research.”