Biliary Atresia is a rare liver disease related to bile ducts and is a birth defect or occurs in infants. Till date, it has taken several lives but it is treatable. Liver transplant is the only way this can be treated. The symptoms of this disease are clearly visible at the age of two to eight weeks after birth. There are cells in our liver that produce a liquid called bile and its responsibility is to digest and shift the waste from the liver to intestines. The network through which this happens is called the biliary system.
When a child is born with biliary atresia, it blocks the bile flow from the liver to the gallbladder. This situation leads to serious damage and scarring of liver cells which is called Cirrhosis. Consequently, the liver fails and stops working. There is still some confusion about why this happens. Some kids face this issue because their bile ducts are not fully formed and some have a weaker immune system and is a reaction to viral infections after birth.
How Do We Identify Biliary Atresia?
The kids who are born with Biliary Atresia seem to be normal like other babies and appear to be healthy at the time of their birth. The major symptoms are seen after the first two weeks or months after being born.
The common symptoms of Biliary Atresia are listed below:
Higher levels of bilirubin cause the skin and eyes to turn yellow. Jaundice in newborns is usually because of the underdeveloped liver. Kids born with Biliary Atresia gets jaundice at 2-3 weeks after birth and is cured only by the right treatment.
- Dark Pee
High bilirubin results in dark pee. It happens because of the excessive buildup of bilirubin in the blood.
- Acholic Stools
The stools which are a colour of dark clay, this is also a reason of excessive buildup and the swelling in the liver.
- Weight Loss
Alarming weight loss in kids is when the level of jaundice increases.
What Treatments Can Be Done?
Biliary atresia is not a disease which can only be treated through medication. There are different procedures used to cure it and the first one is the ‘Kasai’ procedure. The Kasai procedure is done to regain the bile flow from the liver to intestines. In this surgery, the surgeon removes defected ducts that are on the outer side of the liver and works on the smaller ducts that are still operational and processing bile. Later, the connection is restored with the portion of the liver to maintain bile flow.
This treatment requires the child to stay under observation for 10 days and also is suggested to follow a long-term antibiotic therapy. Anti-biotic therapy is used to reduce the risks of further infections and diseases.
The Long-Term Treatment
Along with the other partially successful treatments, this disease needs long-term survival treatment. Kasai treatment can only work for a while. It does not treat serious cases and also cirrhosis. It has successfully worked on some of the kids who were under the age of 5 but it becomes difficult for the children over 5 years to survive with only this treatment. Some children become sensitive and are at a higher risk of portal hypertension and gastrointestinal bleeding. In these cases, almost 85% of all the children who have biliary atresia require a liver transplant before they turn 20.
If all these treatments do not work, doctors recommend liver transplantation as a final option. Liver transplant helps them get a new, properly functional liver and can live a better life. These patients require lifelong care. They have to stay constantly in contact with consultants and physicians along with other transplant team as well.
Liver Transplant in Pakistan
Liver Transplant in Pakistan has been an issue since a while. But the as the time passes, it brings in new opportunities and for Liver Transplant there’s finally some hope. Turkey has stepped in to solve the organ transplantation issue in Pakistan. Marham is working in collaboration with Turkey to offer every possible opportunity which is required for the people of Pakistan. From sponsored visa to a hospital stay, everything comes in a package. Liver Transplant cost is around $ 37000 – $ 42000 and it covers almost everything which is required during treatment.
Many of us opt to travel to India or other countries for similar treatments, which is not preferable anymore if you are planning to get treated too then call at 0311122398 and talk for further details and guidance. If you are not planning to step out, book yourself an online consultation and talk to a doctor while sitting right back home!
Javeria Adil Chughtai
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