What is Protein-Losing enteropathy (PLE)? | Nutrition

Protein-losing enteropathy (PLE)

Everything you need to know about PLE

Protein-losing enteropathy (PLE) occurs when albumin and other protein-rich materials leak into the intestine. Albumin is the most plentiful protein in the blood. It has many functions, including the transport of hormones and the retention of water in the bloodstream.

Causes of protein-losing enteropathy

Protein-losing enteropathy has several potential causes, including:

  • Heart failure
  • Previous surgical repair of a single ventricular heart condition
  • Cancer
  • Infections
  • Intestinal lymphangiectasia
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

What are the signs and symptoms of PLE?

Some of the symptoms of protein-losing enteropathy include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Food intolerance (when a baby or child cannot eat or digest food without getting sick)
  • Edema (fluid retention)
  • Ascites (fluid retention in the abdomen)

Diagnosis of PLE

If you are suspected of having PLE, your doctor can confirm your diagnosis by measuring the levels of albumin and protein in your blood. The PLE is then confirmed by the presence of alpha-1-antitrypsin, a sensitive protein marker, in the stool.

For inappropriate patients, dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance lymphangiography may be performed to demonstrate the state of the central lymphatic system where hepatic lymph drains.

Protein-losing enteropathy treatment

If you have PLE, your symptoms can be resolved by embolizing the abnormal communications between the lymphatic vessels of the liver and the intestine.

Embolization is performed by injecting surgical glue diluted with X-ray visible contrast agents through a very small needle that is inserted into the lymphatic vessels of the liver. Fluoroscopic and ultrasound leadership is used to direct the pointer. The glue then spreads through the retroperitoneal lymphatic ducts until it plugs the openings in the duodenum.

In addition to the X-ray dye, your doctor may also inject a special blue dye into the lymphatic vessels in your liver while performing an endoscopy. This can help further confirm the location of the intestinal leak.

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