The Kasai Procedure for Biliary Atresia
Children's Hospital Colorado has been selected as one of nine clinical centers to study the causes and treatments for biliary atresia and other newborn liver diseases. The Biliary Atresia Clinical Research Consortium received an initial five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the causes of biliary atresia.
The Kasai Procedure
Biliary Atresia occurs within the first two months of life when there is a blockage of the bile duct connecting the liver to the gut. Eventually the blockage will cause a buildup of bile in the liver that leads to damage and scarring of the liver cells, and if untreated, this scarring will cause liver failure and the need for liver transplantation. The Kasai operation attempts to reconstruct the bile duct with a loop of intestine. In the Kasai procedure the small intestine is attached to the liver directly so that the bile may drain. Children's Hospital Colorado sees six to ten new patients with biliary atresia every year and the Kasai procedure is the most effective treatment available.
While the Kasai procedure allows some children who would otherwise not be able to live normal healthy lives return to normal growth and activities, most patients with this disease will still eventually need a liver transplant.