What is biliary atresia?

In babies with biliary atresia, the ducts that are to drain bile from the liver to the intestinal tract do not work, causing the bile to back up in the liver. Inevitably, the liver will scar and begin to malfunction causing a serious need for a transplant. Biliary atresia is the most prevalent cause of liver transplantation in children in the United States; however, it is a very rare disease that will present itself at birth or shortly thereafter. It is important to note that biliary atresia is not an inherited disease and its specific cause is not known. The disorder is more likely to affect girls, premature babies, as well as Asian and African-American babies.

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