UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Biliary Atresia in 2021: Epidemiology, Screening and Public Policy Schreiber, Richard A.; Harpavat, Sanjiv; Hulscher, Jan B. F.; Wildhaber, Barbara E.


Biliary atresia (BA) is a rare newborn liver disease with significant morbidity and mortality, especially if not recognized and treated early in life. It is the most common cause of liver-related death in children and the leading indication for liver transplantation in the pediatric population. Timely intervention with a Kasai portoenterostomy (KPE) can significantly improve prognosis. Delayed disease recognition, late patient referral, and untimely surgery remains a worldwide problem. This article will focus on biliary atresia from a global public health perspective, including disease epidemiology, current national screening programs, and their impact on outcome, as well as new and novel BA screening initiatives. Policy challenges for the implementation of BA screening programs will also be discussed, highlighting examples from the North American, European, and Asian experience.

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CC BY 4.0