Minimizing malnutrition in Biliary Atresia

A retrospective study in Liver Transplantation reviews a single center experience with the use of parenteral nutrition (PN) in patients with end-stage liver disease due to biliary atresia (Liver Transpl 2012; 18: 121-129).  In this study which spanned the past twenty years, 25 PN BA patients were compared to 22 non-PN BA patients –all patients were younger than 36 months.  PN was started when maximal enteral nutrition failed to improve markers of malnutrition (triceps skinfold thickness, & mid-arm circumference).  Among the PN BA patients, there was a higher gastrointestinal bleeding rate and ascites; however, there was no difference in the rates of bacteremia, length of intensive care unit stay after liver transplantation, or patient/graft survival.  The authors speculate that the outcome for the PN BA patients would have been much worse without the PN as malnourished BA patients are at increased risk for graft failure and post-transplant complications.  It is noteworthy that PN patients did have progression of their liver disease that seemed to accelerate with the administration of PN, perhaps due to PN-associated cholestasis.  Specific changes included higher bilirubin levels, lower platelet counts, worsened coagulopathy, and higher calculated PELD scores.

Additional References:

  • Hepatology 2007; 46: 1632-38.  Growth failure and outcomes in infants with BA.
  • J Pediatr 2005; 147: 180-85.  Outcomes of 755 BA patients listed for liver transplantation.

1 thought on “Minimizing malnutrition in Biliary Atresia

  1. Pingback: NASPGHAN/ESPGHAN Position Paper: Nutrition Support for Children with Chronic Liver Disease | gutsandgrowth

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