Biliary atresia-polysplenia syndrome: Surgical and clinical relevance in liver transplantation

Gustavo Varela-Fascinetto, Paolo Castaldo, Ira J. Fox, Debra Sudan, Thomas G. Heffron, Byers W. Shaw, Alan N. Langnas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objective: To review a single center's 10-year experience with liver transplantation (LTx) for the biliary atresia-polysplenia syndrome (BA-PS) and to define surgical and clinical guidelines for its management. Summary Background Data: BA is the most common indication for pediatric liver transplantation (LTx) and is associated with PS in 12% of cases. Only a few studies of LTx for BA-PS have been reported, and the optimal management of BA-PS patients undergoing LTx has yet to be determined. Methods: From July 1985 to September 1995, 166 liver transplants were performed in 130 patients with BA and were included in the study. The malformations most commonly associated with BA-PS, surgical techniques used to overcome these anomalies, and surgical pitfalls that could have contributed to the outcome were characterized. Actuarial 10-year patient and graft survival for patients undergoing LTx for BA-PS were calculated and compared to those with isolated BA. Results: Ten patients (7.8%) with BA had associated PS. An additional patient with PS without BA was included in the study. The diagnosis of PS was unknown before the transplantation in 72% of cases. Thirteen liver transplants were performed in these 11 patients. Modifications of the usual surgical technique were used to overcome the complex anatomy encountered. There was no association between the type of anomaly and the outcome, nor were there any significant differences in patient survival (72% vs. 73.5%, p = 0.79) or graft survival (56.4% vs. 54.6%, p = 0.54). Conclusions: The association of BA with various anomalies should be considered a spectrum that may vary widely from patient to patient. The finding of two or more of these malformations in a patient awaiting transplantation should lead the surgeon to look systematically for other associated anomalies. With some special surgical considerations, the outcome in BA-PS patients should not differ from those with isolated BA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-589
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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