Biliary atresia is an uncommon liver disease that affects infants. It occurs when the digestive bile produced in the liver is trapped in the liver due to the swelling and blockage of the bile ducts. When the bile is trapped in the liver, this results in damage and scarring to the liver cells. The liver cells are responsible for producing a liquid substance known as digestive bile, and this bile travels from the ducts to the small intestine to help digest fat, in addition, to carry waste products to the small intestine for excretion. When this bile flow from the liver to the small intestine is blocked, the digestive bile is trapped inside the liver and negatively affects liver cells, damaging and scarring them.
Symptoms commonly associated with biliary atresia include jaundice, dark-colored urine, and weight loss. Furthermore, biliary atresia can be caused by various means, including infections, contact with chemicals, immune system problems, liver development problems in the womb, and changes in genes. When biliary atresia is left untreated, it can lead to liver damage, but there are multiple forms of treatments that affected infants can undergo to bypass the symptoms and better their condition. Get to know them now.
When an infant has jaundice because of biliary atresia, a surgery is immediately required so the doctor can examine the infant’s bile ducts. When it’s confirmed biliary atresia is the cause of jaundice, the Kasai procedure can be performed. During this procedure, the affected infant’s bile ducts are reconstructed to restore the flow of the digestive bile from the liver to the small intestine. In this procedure, the swollen or blocked bile ducts, as well as the infant’s gallbladder, are both replaced with a small portion of the intestine that is then connected to the liver. When the intestine is connected to the liver, this allows the digestive bile trapped inside the liver to drain out normally, restoring the flow of the bile in the infant’s body to normal. By joining the liver and the intestine, a new bile duct system is created.
Keep reading to learn about the next method of treating biliary atresia now.