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J Pediatr Surg. 2001 Jun;36(6):892-7.

Survival patterns in biliary atresia and comparison of quality of life of long-term survivors in Japan and England.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Surgery, King's College Hospital, London, UK.



Portoenterostomy is an accepted method of achieving bile drainage in biliary atresia, but there is a paucity of data, including formal quality-of-life (QoL) studies, on long-term survivors. This report includes survival analysis and QoL studies from the world's largest series of cases treated in Japan (1951 to 1998). The Japanese QoL results are compared with a matched group of UK patients from King's College Hospital, London.


One hundred fifteen Japanese surviving portoenterostomy patients were studied and comparison of trends in survival calculated from 6-year period cohorts. Liver function and hematologic status in a group of 30 long-term survivors (14 to 24 years) were compared with 25 patients from England, (14 to 23 years). Twenty-five Japanese and 21 UK patients (SF-36) completed a QoL questionnaire.


Median survival times in Japanese patients before 1975 were less than 1 year but increased to 18 years after 1975. Hematologic and liver function test results did not show any significant differences between the Japanese and UK patients. QoL studies in the UK patients showed no significant difference from normative, general population data. Japanese patients underperformed in general health (P = .01), role emotional (P = .05) and role physical (P = .07) but, overall, there was no significant difference between the Japanese and UK patients except for marginal differences in indices of general health and vitality (P = .06 and .04, respectively).


Long-term survival rate in the Japanese patients increased dramatically from 1 year to 17 years after 1975. The QoL of survivors was comparable in Japan and England. The satisfactory comparison with normative population data suggests that we should continue to use portoenterostomy as the primary treatment for biliary atresia. J Pediatr Surg 36:892-897.

Copyright 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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