How does biliary atresia affect the body?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Biliary atresia can affect the body in a variety of ways. Doctors do not yet know what causes biliary atresia but it is a breakdown of the ducts that allow bile to leave the liver to be used in the digestive process. When this bile backs up in the liver, it can cause failure and even lead to cirrhosis. In many cases, a transplant is necessary to completely solve the problem. Those suffering from this disease are unable to get bilirubin to the intestinal tract, which causes them to have very light-colored stool. Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes, will set in within weeks of a child's birth.

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