Biliary Atresia | - Blog Hanz -
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Biliary Atresia

  • Progressive shrinking of the tubes (ducts) which drain bile from the liver to the small intestine 
  • No known causes, though there is a link to some blood markers
  • Occurs 1 per 8,000 to 15,000 births
  • Usually seen within the first 6 weeks of life

  • Yellow-colored skin, whites of eyes and inside of mouth 
  • Pale-colored stools
  • Enlarged liver, felt as a mass on the right side of the abdomen
  • Itching 
  • Decreased alertness, if prolonged

  • Many blood tests are necessary to eliminate other liver disorders.
  • Bacterial and viral cultures should be done.
  • Eye examination for congenital infections of some viruses
  • Ultrasound of the liver and pancreas
  • HIV test
  • Liver sampling (biopsy) for microscopic evaluation
  • X-ray studies for evaluation of congenital problems

  • Surgery is helpful but most patients will require a liver transplant, if available.
  • Nutritional support is necessary, as food is poorly absorbed.
  • Enzymes can be taken orally to help digestion.
  • Best results occur when diagnosis is made within the first 2 months of life.

  • Poor growth
  • Fluid retention with swelling of the legs and abdomen
  • Fever and infection of the liver
  • Ultimately, liver failure requiring a transplant


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