Surgical versus Medical Management of Progressive Familial Intrahepatic Cholestasis-Case Compilation and Review of the Literature

Children (Basel). 2023 May 26;10(6):949. doi: 10.3390/children10060949.


(1) Background: Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC) is a rare cause of liver failure. Surgical biliary diversion (SBD) and ileal bile salt inhibitors (IBAT) can delay or prevent liver transplantation (LTX). A comparison of the two methodologies in the literature is lacking. The combination has not been investigated. (2) Methods: We performed a literature survey on medical and surgical treatments for PFIC and reviewed the charts of our patients with PFIC of a tertiary hospital. The end points of our analysis were a decrease in serum bile acid (sBA) levels, reduction of pruritus and delay or avoidance of (LTX). (3) Results: We included 17 case series on SBD with more than 5 patients and a total of 536 patients. External or internal SBD, either conventional or minimally invasive, can reduce pruritus and sBA, but not all PFIC types are suitable for SBD. Six publications described the use of two types of IBAT in PFIC with a total of 118 patients. Treatment response was dependent on genetic type and subtype. Patients with PFIC 2 (nt-BSEP) showed the best response to treatment. Four out of eleven PFIC patients underwent SBD at our centre, with two currently receiving IBAT. (4) Conclusions: Limited data on IBAT in selected patients with PFIC show safety and effectiveness, although surgical methods should still be considered as a successful bridging procedure. Further studies to evaluate a possible combination of IBAT and SBD in PFIC are warranted and treatment decision should be discussed in an interdisciplinary board.

Keywords: bile acid; biliary diversion; children; maralixibiat; odevixibat; progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis; pruritus; surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.