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What causes biliary atresia?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Biliary atresia has no known specific cause, but doctors do know that it is not an inherited disease. There is a list of triggers that are suspected of leading to the disease, which can occur while the child is still in the womb or up to a few weeks after birth. Viral or bacterial infections; a developmental problem in the liver; exposure to toxic substances; a gene mutation; a bile problem; and immune system issues are all suspects. Each could potentially cause bile ducts to develop abnormally and eventually set off biliary atresia.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.