SSM Health Medical Minute: GIRAF Program for children with intestinal failure

ST. LOUIS - The Glennon Intestinal Rehabilitation and Feeding (GIRAF) team at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital is the first and only multidisciplinary formal intestinal rehabilitation program in the St. Louis region, providing individualized treatment for children with complex cases of intestinal failure.

The SLUCare team of neonatologists, surgeons, gastroenterologists, nurses, dietitians, and specialists are uniquely trained and experienced to help children with intestinal failure.

"For this particular issue, we have individuals that are great at their jobs but they are a whole team that works together to take care of each kid individually," said Dr. Nisha Mangalat, SLUCare pediatric gastroenterologist at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital.

By working with you to guide your young patients on the journey to intestinal rehabilitation, the GIRAF team strives for patients to be able to digest and absorb nutrients, water, and electrolytes using a customized, long-term plan to treat intestinal failure and its associated symptoms and conditions.

Ranked by U.S. News and World Report among the best hospitals for pediatric gastroenterology, gastrointestinal surgery, and neonatology, SSM Health Cardinal Glennon has the expertise to handle the most challenging cases of intestinal failure, that may have resulted from:

  • Dysmotilities (gastroparesis, intestinal pseudoobstruction)
  • Intestinal atresia (duodenal atresia, jejunal Atresia, ilea atresia)
  • Intestinal malrotation
  • Gastroschisis
  • Hirschsprung’s disease
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Omphalocele
  • Short bowel syndrome
  • Volvulus

The goal for all children experiencing intestinal failure is to achieve enteral autonomy, which is the ability to absorb all nutrients and fluids in the digestive tract.

"The families are so integral in this process too, so they're communicating with us weekly or more to say, 'this is working for us, let's keep doing this,' or, 'no, that plan didn't work,'" Dr. Mangalat said.

Dr. Mangalat said the GIRAF staff will often initiate contact with the family.

"We have a weekly team huddle and we're talking about every kid and sometimes during that meeting well pick up the phone we'll call and see how things are going," he said. "The communication and collaboration with our team make us pretty unique."

For more information on the GIRAF program, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Wednesday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.​

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