Liver biopsy remains the foundation of evaluation and management of liver disease in children, although the role of the liver biopsy is changing with development of alternative methods of diagnosis and advancement of hepatic imaging techniques. The indications for liver biopsy are evolving as current knowledge of etiologies, noninvasive biomarker alternatives, and treatment options in pediatric liver disease are expanding. The procedure can often be complicated in children by technical difficulties, cost, and smaller specimen size. Communication and partnership of clinicians with pathologists experienced in pediatric liver diseases are essential. DNA sequencing, novel imaging modalities, noninvasive biomarkers of fibrosis and apoptosis, proteomics, and genome-wide association studies offer potential alternative methods for evaluation of liver disease in children. This review presents specific indications, considerations, methods, complications, contraindications, and alternatives for pediatric liver biopsy.
"A great improvement both in imaging  and in molecular genetics  in the last years helped to discriminate between the different diseases thus reducing the need of pathology (Table 1). On the other hand, liver biopsy is often complex in children, mainly due to the smaller specimen size . For some diseases, prenatal diagnosis is also available . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inherited liver diseases are a group of metabolic and genetic defects that typically cause early chronic liver involvement. Most are due to a defect of an enzyme/transport protein that alters a metabolic pathway and exerts a pathogenic role mainly in the liver. The prevalence is variable, but most are rare pathologies. We review the pathophysiology of such diseases and the diagnostic contribution of laboratory tests, focusing on the role of molecular genetics. In fact, thanks to recent advances in genetics, molecular analysis permits early and specific diagnosis for most disorders and helps to reduce the invasive approach of liver biopsy.
"The penetrance of liver expression in such diseases is widely different, since the liver damage is modulated by the genetic background of each patient . We critically discuss the most recent advances in the pathogenesis of such disorders, with particular regard to biochemical and molecular approaches that in the last decade permitted earlier and more specific diagnoses, reducing the need of invasive bioptic approaches  "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Liver inherited diseases are a group of genetically determined clinical entities that appear with an early chronic liver involvement. They include Wilson's disease (hepatolenticular degeneration), hereditary hemochromatosis, and alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency. In addition, cystic fibrosis, although it is not specifically a liver disease, may cause a severe liver involvement in a significant percentage of cases. For all these pathologies, the disease gene is known, and molecular analysis may contribute to the unequivocal diagnosis. This approach could avoid the patient invasive procedures and limit complications associated with a delay in diagnosis. We review liver inherited diseases on the basis of the genetic defect, focusing on the contribution of molecular analysis in the multistep diagnostic workup.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We aimed to examine the major causes of isolated chronic hypertransaminasemia in asymptomatic children and develop a comprehensive diagnostic flow diagram. A MEDLINE search inclusive of publications throughout August 2012 was performed. We found only a small number of publications that had comprehensively investigated this topic. Consequently, it was difficult to construct a diagnostic flowchart similar to those already available for adults. In children, a "retesting panel" prescription, including gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase and creatine kinase in addition to aminotransferases, is considered a reasonable approach for proficiently confirming the persistence of the abnormality, ruling out cholestatic hepatopathies and myopathies, and guiding the subsequent diagnostic steps. If re-evaluation of physical and historical findings suggests specific etiologies, then these should be evaluated in the initial enzyme retesting panel. A simple multi-step diagnostic algorithm incorporating a large number of possible pediatric scenarios, in addition to the few common to adults, is available. Accurately classifying a child with asymptomatic persistent hypertransaminasemia may be a difficult task, but the results are critical for preventing the progression of an underlying, possibly occult, condition later in childhood or during transition. Given the high benefit/cost ratio of preventing hepatic deterioration, no effort should be spared in diagnosing and properly treating each case of persistent hypertransaminasemia in pediatric patients.
World Journal of Gastroenterology 05/2013; 19(18):2740-2751. DOI:10.3748/wjg.v19.i18.2740 · 2.37 Impact Factor
Brenna S Fullerton, Eric A Sparks, Amber M Hall, Christopher Duggan, Tom Jaksic, Biren P Modi,
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