Journal of pediatric surgery

High-dose steroids, ursodeoxycholic acid, and chronic intravenous antibiotics improve bile flow after Kasai procedure in infants with biliary atresia.

PMID 12632357


Early reports suggest that the use of steroids after Kasai portoenterostomy may improve bile flow and outcome in infants with biliary atresia. Of 28 infants with biliary atresia, half received adjuvant high-dose steroids, and half received standard therapy. Infants in the steroid group (n = 14) received intravenous solumedrol (taper of 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 mg/kg/d), followed by 8 to 12 weeks of prednisone (2 mg/kg/d). The steroid protocol also included ursodeoxycholic acid indefinitely and intravenous antibiotics for 8 to 12 weeks followed by oral antibiotic prophylaxis. Infants in the standard therapy group (n = 14) received no steroids, occasional ursodeoxycholic acid, and perioperative intravenous antibiotics followed by oral antibiotic prophylaxis. The infants were not assigned randomly, but rather received standard therapy or adjuvant steroid therapy according to individual surgeon preference. Eleven of 14 (79%) in the steroid group and 3 of 14 (21%) in the standard therapy group had a conjugated bilirubin level less than 1.0 within 3 to 4 months of surgery (P <.001). Fewer patients in the steroid group (21% v 85%) required liver transplantation or died during the first year of life (P <.001). Infants in the steroid group did better despite the fact that this group included 5 infants with biliary atresia-polysplenia-heterotaxia syndrome, a subgroup that might have been expected to have a poor prognosis. Neither bile duct size nor liver histology was a reliable predictor of success or failure in either group. Adjuvant therapy using high-dose steroids, ursodeoxycholic acid, and intravenous antibiotics may accelerate the clearance of jaundice and decrease the need for early liver transplantation after Kasai portoenterostomy.