Patient Story: Young Boy Battling Biliary Atresia Makes Astonishing Progress

According to a recent article, a young boy who has been battling biliary atresia and was put on a liver transplant list has made miraculous progress.

About Biliary Atresia

Biliary atresia is a condition occurring in infants in which the bile ducts both outside and inside the liver are scarred, blocked, or destroyed. The bile ducts are tubes that carry bile (fluid that aids in digestion) to the gallbladder. When the bile ducts are blocked, bile builds up in the liver and then damages it. This can lead to other health problems, including scarring, loss of liver tissue and function, and cirrhosis. Biliary atresia occurs in about 1 in 10,000 to 15,000 births in the U.S. and is slightly more likely to affect females than males. Babies with this condition may appear normal at birth, but the first symptoms often start to appear by the second or third week of life.

Symptoms:

  • Yellow skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice) that appears within the first 2 to 6 weeks of life
  • Pale yellow, white, or gray stool
  • Dark urine
  • Swollen stomach
  • Abnormally enlarged liver
  • By age 6 to 10 weeks: irritability, poor weight gain, increase in blood pressure
  • Scarring of the liver
  • Liver failure
  • Less common symptoms: intense itching, heart malformations, kidney malformations, absence of the spleen, more than one spleen, and/or other anatomical abnormalities

Diagnosis:

Biliary atresia is diagnosed using the following procedures:

  • Recording of medical and family history
  • Physical exam
  • Blood tests
  • Ultrasound
  • Hepatobiliary scan
  • Liver biopsy
  • Abdominal surgery to confirm diagnosis

Treatments:

  • Surgery called the Kasai procedure, which removes obstructions and allows bile to flow again
  • Liver transplant
  • Antibiotics to treat bile duct infections
  • Special dieting plans and supplements
  • Genetic counseling

Learn more about biliary atresia through BARE (Biliary Atresia Research & Education).

The Miracle of Caden Price

Caden Price was diagnosed with biliary atresia back in June at only three months old after his parents noticed his skin and eyes were very yellow. A liver biopsy showed young Caden has biliary atresia. Ultimately, this means that he needed immediate live-saving surgery. However, after undergoing the Kasai procedure, Caden was not doing any better. Therefore, he was put onto a transplant waiting list for a new liver.

While awaiting his liver transplant, Caden Price shocked his parents and doctors by making miraculous progress in his health. Despite having no treatment and a failed procedure, Caden turned back into the happy and healthy baby boy his parents remembered. Doctors have now told his parents that although he will need a liver transplant in a few years, he does not need to have one right now. Instead, Caden gets to keep growing and enjoying life as a healthy baby.

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