Biliary atresia is a blockage in the small tubes (ducts) that carry bile from the liver to the small intestine. Bile is a fluid that helps the body break down the fat in food. Blockage of the ducts can damage the liver. If this disease is not treated, the liver will stop working.
This is a rare, life-threatening condition that can affect babies soon after birth.
The cause of biliary atresia is not known. Some possible causes may be:
Symptoms may include:
Biliary atresia is usually diagnosed during the first 2 months of life. Tests may include:
Biliary atresia can be treated with 2 types of surgery:
Even after a successful Kasai procedure, most babies with biliary atresia slowly develop scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) and need a liver transplant by adulthood.
Your child’s healthcare provider may recommend changes in your baby’s diet or vitamin supplements.
Follow your child’s healthcare provider's instructions. Ask your provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.