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Am Surg. 2002 Sep;68(9):816-9.

Bile decompression in children with histopathological evidence of pre-existing liver cirrhosis.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, The University of Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Although it is agreed upon by most that adequate and timely bile decompression can preserve or even improve existing liver function much debate centers on whether pre-existing liver cirrhosis can also be reversed. To help answer this question we analyzed data on 47 children with choledochal cyst disease (CD) who underwent simultaneous liver biopsy during bile decompression surgery. We collected data on two groups of children with CD spanning two different time periods: January 1985 through November 1994 (Group A) and June 1995 through November 1999 (Group B). In Group A 37 children (16 boys and 21 girls ages 5 days to 10 years) underwent simultaneous liver biopsy during elective definitive surgery for CD. In Group B ten children (five boys and five girls age one month to 7 years) underwent liver biopsy twice: first during initial cyst decompression for acute obstruction and second during elective definitive surgery after resolution of acute disease. Degree of liver cirrhosis was based on a modified World Health Organization classification system (0-IV). In Group A 15/37 (40.5%) had significant liver cirrhosis at time of biopsy (III or IV) with altered liver function in all cases; eight of nine had normal liver function on follow-up, six were lost to follow-up. In Group B seven of ten (70%) had less liver cirrhosis on pathology at second operation with three unchanged; nine of ten (90%) regained normal liver function. We conclude that bile duct obstruction is the main cause of liver cirrhosis in children with CD. Adequate and timely bile decompression can restore normal liver function and even reverse severe cirrhosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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