Children's Hospital Colorado

Biliary Atresia in Infants (S3:E13)

Biliary atresia is a rare gastrointestinal disorder, occurring in approximately 1 in 10,000 to 15,000 births in the United States. It is characterized by a destruction or absence of all or a portion of the extrahepatic bile duct. Affected infants present with jaundice and fibrosis.

In some cases, infants with biliary atresia may have additional abnormalities, including cardiac defects and intestinal, spleen and kidney malformations. The exact cause of biliary atresia is unknown.

Listen to a pediatric hepatologist discuss biliary atresia

In this episode, we talk with Cara Mack, MD, to unpack the clinical presentation, management and ongoing care of patients with biliary atresia.

Dr. Mack is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, a practicing pediatric hepatologist and the Director of the Pediatric Liver Center at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

In this episode, our expert discusses:

  • How her study of liver and intestinal disease directed her residency and fellowship
  • The typical presentation of biliary atresia in an infant, including jaundice
  • The need for a check-up between post-nursery discharge and the two-month milestone
  • Why early detection is important for the success of the surgical procedure
  • How bile will present in the pigment of the stool and what the color reveals
  • When primary care physicians should refer a patient with visible jaundice
  • The Kasai procedure for re-establishing bile flow and how often a transplant is necessary
  • The specific challenges children face when their bile flow is obstructed
  • Why it is important to be alert for fevers in children with biliary atresia
  • The incidence rate of the disease and what research is suggesting about the cause
  • Thoughts about possible prevention strategies and the inefficiency of steroids

Treatment of biliary atresia at Children’s Colorado

Our Pediatric Liver Center is a multidisciplinary clinic specifically designed to meet the needs of children with liver disease. Our pediatric experts are internationally recognized for contributing to new discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric hepatobiliary disorders. We are the only provider of complete pediatric multispecialty liver disease and liver transplant services in the Rocky Mountain region.

Refer a patient to Children's Colorado.