Biliary Atresia as a Disease Starting In Utero: Implications for Treatment, Diagnosis, and Pathogenesis

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Biliary atresia (BA) is the most common reason for pediatric liver transplant. BA's varied presentation, natural history, and treatment with the Kasai portoenterostomy have been well described; however, when BA starts relative to birth has not been clearly defined. In this review, we discuss laboratory, imaging, and clinical data which suggest that most if not all forms of BA may start before birth. This early onset has implications in terms of delivering treatments earlier and identifying possible factors underlying BA's etiology.

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