What is the known cause of biliary atresia?
The cause of biliary atresia is not known. Researchers believe that auto-immune mechanisms may be partly responsible; recent research suggests that biliary atresia could be triggered by a viral infection in susceptible infants.
What are the two forms of biliary atresia?
There are two types of biliary atresia:
- Perinatal biliary atresia. This is the most common type. It appears after birth, most often when a baby is about 2 to 4 weeks old.
- Fetal biliary atresia. This is less common. It appears while a baby is still developing in the mother’s womb.
What are the most common clinical symptoms of biliary atresia?
Biliary atresia is a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts that occurs in infants. Jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and pale stools that start in the first 4-8 weeks of life are the main signs of the disease.
Can biliary atresia be cured?
There is no cure for biliary atresia. The main treatment is a surgery called the Kasai procedure. In this surgery, the surgeon removes the damaged bile ducts from outside the liver and replaces them with a piece of the patient’s small intestine.
At what age is biliary atresia diagnosed?
Biliary atresia in children In most cases, it is present early in infancy. Usually it’s found in the first 1 to 2 months of life. If it’s not found until after 2 months of age, it seems to progress to worse disease.
How is biliary atresia detected?
Liver biopsy A pathologist will examine the tissue under a microscope to look for signs of damage or disease. A liver biopsy can show whether an infant is likely to have biliary atresia. A biopsy can also help rule out or identify other liver problems.
Can you live a normal life with biliary atresia?
Long-term outlook for patients with biliary atresia Most biliary atresia patients can expect to live into adulthood with either their native liver or a transplanted liver.
Does biliary atresia require liver transplant?
Biliary atresia is a rare condition in newborn infants in which the common bile duct between the liver and the small intestine is blocked or absent. Early surgical intervention to treat biliary atresia is critical to prevent irreversible liver damage. Once the liver fails, a liver transplant is required.
Is biliary atresia an emergency?
Biliary atresia (BA) is the first cause of NC. Its diagnosis is urgent, since the chance of success of the conservative surgical treatment (Kasai operation or variants) decreases rapidly as the age at surgery increases.