What is protein-losing enteropathy (PLE)?
Protein-losing enteropathy is a broad term that refers to the loss of serum proteins from the digestive tract. This causes an abnormally low level of albumin (a protein made by the liver) and other proteins in the blood stream and can lead to edema (retention of fluid in tissue) and ascites (retention of fluid in the stomach). In some cases the loss of protein is due to abnormalities in lymphatic flow.
Lymph vessels carry lymph fluid to veins, where it returns to the bloodstream, playing a crucial role in immune function and fat and protein transport. When something disrupts or damages normal lymphatic flow, it can cause protein rich lymphatic fluid to leak into the intestine.
Why Choose Us?
The Cardiac Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia cares for children from before birth through adulthood, offering the most advanced treatments for complex congenital heart disease, lymphatic leaks and flow disorders, and other conditions.
Treatment of protein-losing enteropathy
Treatment of PLE can be challenging, but we are now working on several new treatment options for patients with this disorder. At Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, patients are treated by a team of experts who specialize in lymphatic imaging and interventions through the Center for Lymphatic Imaging and Interventions.
The team will determine the best treatment approach for each patient’s condition. When lymphatic imaging is able to identify the source of the leak that’s causing protein-losing enteropathy, it can potentially be sealed during an embolization procedure.