Article

Late referral for biliary atresia—missed opportunities for effective surgery

Department of Child Health, King's College School of Medicine, Denmark Hill, London.
The Lancet (Impact Factor: 45.22). 03/1989; 1(8635):421-3. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(89)90012-3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To assess whether clinicopathological features other than the age at operation influence prognosis after surgery for extrahepatic biliary atresia (EHBA) and to determine whether the age at referral has fallen since a previous survey, 50 consecutive cases with EHBA referred between February, 1985, and December, 1987, were reviewed. Liver or spleen size, liver function tests, or histological appearance of liver biopsy specimen before surgery were not predictive of outcome. The jaundice cleared up in 12 of 14 children operated on by age 8 weeks, but in only 13 of 36 operated on later. In 41 referral was delayed. All 25 children in whom surgery was successful are alive and well, while 13 of 25 with unsuccessful surgery have died, at a median age of 1 year. To improve the prognosis of infants with EHBA parents and health staff need a better awareness of the early clinical features of EHBA and of the necessity for prompt referral. Liver disease should be suspected in any infant jaundiced after 14 days of age.

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