Objective: To determine the influence of the new onset of esophageal variceal hemorrhage (EVH) on transplant-free survival in children with biliary atresia and to examine variables that predicted survival after the onset of EVH.
Methods: Retrospective chart review of 134 patients with biliary atresia who underwent portoenterostomy between 1973 and 1992 at a single institution; 29% had EVH.
Results: The risk of death or need for liver transplantation was 50% at 6 years after the initial episode of EVH. Patients with a serum bilirubin concentration < or =4 mg/dL at the first episode of EVH had transplant-free survival of >80% for 4 years after this episode, those with bilirubin levels >4 to 10 mg/dL had 50% survival at 1 year, and those with bilirubin levels >10 mg/dL had 50% survival at 4 months. The risk of death or transplant for a child with EVH and total serum bilirubin levels >10 mg/dL was 12.0 (95% CI: 6.0, 24.1), 4 to 10 mg/dL was 7.2 (3.1, 16.7), and < or =4 mg/dL was 0.6 (0.1, 3.1) times the risk of a same-aged child who did not have EVH.
Conclusions: Children with biliary atresia and first EVH episode have a variable prognosis related to total serum bilirubin concentration at the time of the episode.