Improving Outcomes in Biliary Atresia

The Pediatric Hepatology Service at Shaare Zedek Medical Centre is proud to launch a new program aiming at improving the outcomes of a rare medical condition known as Biliary Atresia.

Biliary Atresia is a condition that occurs in about 1 in 14,000 babies, in which the bile ducts, which carry bile from the liver to the small intestine, are blocked. The blockage causes damage to the liver which can progress quite rapidly to liver failure. Despite great advances in our understanding, we still don’t know for certain why or how this blockage occurs.
We do know that if we treat this condition early enough we can improve the situation and slow the progression of liver damage. The treatment is by way of an operation which removes the blocked bile ducts and connects the liver directly to the small intestine, allowing bile drainage. The success of this operation is significantly better when performed earlier than 60 days of age and preferably less than 45 days.
One major problem is detecting babies who have this condition early enough and directing them to treatment in a timely manner.
One of the easiest and most effective methods to identify babies with a problem in their bile flow is looking at the color of their stools. Since the yellow-green color comes from bile, when the bile flow is obstructed, the stools become pale. It is important to note that not all pale stools are caused by Biliary Atresia, but by looking for pale stools as a first sign, babies with Biliary Atresia have been detected at an earlier stage.
A program introduced in Taiwan recently distributed a stool color card to all new babies to assist early diagnosis of Biliary Atresia. The program was successful in identifying affected infants earlier and treating them at a more timely stage. Since this time only a handful of countries have adopted a similar program.
The Pediatric Hepatology Service at Shaare Zedek Medical Center is running a pilot program over the next year to assess the feasibility of a local program here in Israel. We produced a tasteful and clear language full color card which we will provide to all new mothers, and over the next year we will assess the impact of this program.
The Pediatric Hepatology Service at Shaare Zedek Medical Center is constantly innovating and improving our abilities to provide the best level of care to our precious children with liver disease.

 

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