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Effect of kasai procedure on liver transplantation in children with biliary atresia: a systematic review and updated meta-analysis

Title: Effect of kasai procedure on liver transplantation in children with biliary atresia: a systematic review and updated meta-analysis

Source: Translational Pediatrics 2024, 13 (1): 10-25

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Date of publication: January 2024

Publication type: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Abstract: Background: Kasai procedure and liver transplantation are effective ways to save the life of children with biliary atresia (BA). However, with the gradual development of liver transplantation technology, scholars have questioned the necessity of the Kasai procedure. Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the effect of previous Kasai procedures on liver transplantation in children with BA.

Methods: Seven databases were searched and screened from the establishment of the database to May 3, 2023. The data in the included literature were extracted for meta-analysis to compare the differences between the Kasai group and the non-Kasai group. Finally, a publication bias test, sensitivity analysis, subgroup analysis, and systematic review were performed.

Results: A total of 26 studies were included in which 6,522 children with BA underwent liver transplantation, including 4,989 in the Kasai group. Compared with the non-Kasai group, the Kasai group had older age [standardized mean difference (SMD) =0.64; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.46, 0.82; P<0.001] (I2=78.6%), heavier weight (SMD =0.41; 95% CI: 0.33, 0.48; P<0.001) (after sensitivity analysis, I2=0.0%), lower pediatric end-stage liver disease (PELD) (SMD =-0.41; 95% CI: -0.48, -0.35; P<0.001) (I2=20.1%), longer operation time (SMD =0.33; 95% CI: 0.01, 0.65; P<0.001) (I2=83.2%), more intraoperative blood loss (SMD =0.26; 95% CI: 0.06, 0.46; P=0.012) (I2=19.1%), shorter intensive care unit (ICU) stay (SMD =-0.09; 95% CI: -0.34, 0.15; P=0.027) (I2=68.6%) and higher incidence of intestinal perforation [odds ratio (OR) =1.96; 95% CI: 1.20, 3.18; P=0.007] (I2=7.4%) and biliary complications (OR =1.41; 95% CI: 1.05, 1.89; P=0.024) (I2=31.4%). In the “Asia” subgroup, the Kasai group was older (SMD =0.68; 95% CI: 0.52, 0.84; P<0.001) (I2=28.2%). In the “Cases since 2000” subgroup, there was no significant difference in operation time between the two groups (I2=28.5%). In the “Other” and the “non-Asia” subgroup, there was no significant difference in length of intensive care unit (ICU) stay between the two groups (I2=0.0%). However, there were no significant differences in other postoperative complications and prognostic indicators between the two groups.

Conclusions: For children with BA undergoing liver transplantation, although previous Kasai procedure may increase the risk of intraoperative bleeding, biliary complications, and intestinal perforation, it does not affect the main clinical outcomes, and can even delay the timing of liver transplantation and improve the preoperative status of children. Therefore, when BA children have no obvious contraindications to Kasai procedure, the sequential treatment of Kasai procedure-liver transplantation should be supported first.

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