Cholestasis| Diagnosis & Treatment

How is cholestasis diagnosed?

Your child’s doctor may order blood tests to measure the level of bilirubin in your child’s blood. A high bilirubin level could indicate that not enough bile is present to carry this waste product out of the body.

Other tests to help identify the exact cause of cholestasis may include:

How is cholestasis treated?

Treatment depends on the cause. If your child has cholestasis due to medication or parenteral nutrition, the condition will clear up when those treatments are discontinued.

If cholestasis is caused by biliary atresia, your child will need surgery called Kasai portoenterostomy. This procedure restores the drainage of bile from the bile ducts directly into the intestines. It should be performed by the time your child is two months old.

If your child has a chronic liver condition, a liver doctor will work with your family to manage the condition and keep your child’s liver as healthy as possible.

Other treatments are available to manage some of the unpleasant symptoms of cholestasis, such as medication for itchy skin. A special, high-vitamin diet may help your child get the nutrients they need if they are having trouble absorbing food.

In the most severe cases, a child with cholestasis may develop cirrhosis or liver failure and need a liver transplant.