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Biliary AtresiaHealth Professionals Blog

Long-term clinical and socioeconomic outcomes of children with biliary atresia

Title: Long-term clinical and socioeconomic outcomes of children with biliary atresia

Source: JGH Open 2023, 7 (12): 841-847

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Date of publication: November 2023

Publication type: Article

Abstract: Background: Biliary atresia (BA) is rare liver disease of unknown etiology, and is a major indication for liver transplant (LT). Previous data indicate improved outcomes with early referral for Kasai portoenterostomy (KPE).

Objective: Evaluate the long-term outcomes in BA, with particular focus on those transitioned to adult care with native livers.

Subjects and methods: Patients with BA treated between1980 and 2012 were identified. Data were collected from the time of referral, transition to adult care, and the most recent clinic notes, from which patient and native liver survival were calculated.

Results: Four hundred and fifty-four patients with BA were identified, who were followed up for median of 16.4 years from birth; 74 died (41 of whom had a LT), giving a 20-year survival rate of 83.6%. Two hundred and seventy-two patients received an LT, with the median native liver survival being 35 months. Of patients who transitioned to adult care, 54 of 180 (30.0%) retained their native liver. Of these, 72% (39 of 54) had evidence of chronic liver disease at transition, of whom 8 were subsequently lost to follow-up, 9 were transplanted, and 22 remained stable with compensated liver disease. Of the 15 of 54 patients (28%) with no evidence of chronic disease in their native liver disease at transition, 3 were subsequently lost to follow-up; none received transplants, although 3 patients developed new-onset liver disease. All patients transitioned to adult care completed secondary school education (N = 180), with 49% having attended college/university and 87% being in employment or education at the last follow-up. Of female patients, 34% had at least one pregnancy (27 children in 21 women), while 22% of males had fathered a child.

Conclusion: Long-term outcomes in BA are good, with patients surviving into adult life. Progression of chronic liver disease and associated morbidity is common in those who retained their native livers, suggesting that these patients require monitoring of liver disease throughout adult life, and early recognition of the need for LT.

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