Outcome for biliary atresia patients treated at a low-volume centre

Scand J Gastroenterol. 2018 Apr;53(4):471-474. doi: 10.1080/00365521.2018.1439097. Epub 2018 Mar 16.


Objectives: The importance of case load for treatment of extrahepatic biliary atresia (BA) is debated. The aim of this study was to register results of BA treatment in a small volume centre.

Methods: Retrospective chart review study of patients with BA treated from 2000 to 2017. The institutional review board approved the study.

Results: Forty-five babies were identified of which 42 (93%) are alive. Forty-one patients had a Kasai portoenterostomy (PE), two had a hepaticojejunostomy and two had a primary liver transplantation. The age at PE/hepaticojejunostomy was median 63 (4-145 days). Seven surgeons performed the operations, and the median duration of the diagnostic work-up was 8 (3-24) days. Clearance of jaundice was achieved in 23/43 (53%) babies, and 3- and 5-year native liver survival was 47% and 40%, respectively. Clearance of jaundice post-PE/hepaticojejunostomy was a strong predictor of native liver survival (adjusted OR: 0.027; 95%; p = .009). Plasma level of conjugated bilirubin at time of referral was also a significant predictor of native liver survival (adjusted OR: 1.053; p = .017).

Conclusion: A small volume centre may achieve satisfactory results for BA patients. The study has, however, identified factors that may further improve results; earlier referral, optimizing diagnostic work-up and establishing one dedicated surgical team.

Keywords: Biliary atresia; Kasai; clearance of jaundice; hepaticojejunostomy; liver transplantation; portoenterostomy.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Biliary Atresia / mortality*
  • Biliary Atresia / surgery*
  • Bilirubin / blood*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Low-Volume
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Jaundice / etiology
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Portoenterostomy, Hepatic / adverse effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Bilirubin