Background: Neonatal cholestasis syndrome is considered as a major challenge in pediatric practice. This study was undertaken to investigate the value of morphometric assessment of hepatic fibrosis in early diagnosis of biliary atresia.
Methods: We studied liver biopsy specimens from 53 patients with neonatal cholestasis. The patients were assigned to two groups: group 1 (25 patients with biliary atresia) and group 2 (28 patients with non-obstructive cholestasis). Morphometric assessment of fibrosis was performed for all biopsies; in addition, another twelve histological parameters were estimated and scored on a scale of 0 to 4. Biopsies of infants aged 60 days or younger were characterized and analyzed separately.
Results: Morphometric value of fibrosis was significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2 (16.8 ± 8.4% vs. 5.9 ± 2.3%, respectively; P<0.001). By multiple regression analysis, bile ductular plugs, morphometric assessment of fibrosis, rosetting, portal tract inflammation and pattern of cholestasis were found to be significant in discriminating the two groups. In infants aged 60 days or younger, a cutoff value for morphometric assessment of fibrosis of 7.5% was the discriminating point between the two groups with a sensitivity of 80% and a specificity of 84%.
Conclusion: Morphometric assessment of hepatic fibrosis could enhance the value of liver biopsy in early diagnosis of biliary atresia.