Relationship between biopsy-proven parenteralnutrition-associated liver fibrosis and biochemical cholestasis in children with short bowel syndrome

Shimae C. Fitzgibbons, Brian A. Jones, Melissa A. Hull, David Zurakowski, Debora Duro, Christopher Duggan, Dana Boctor, David L. Sigalet, Tom Jaksic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Purpose: The aim of the study was to determine the frequency of biochemical cholestasis (direct bilirubin [DB] ≥2 mg/dL) in children with short bowel syndrome and biopsy-proven parenteral nutrition (PN)-associated liver disease and to define predictive factors for the occurrence and degree of hepatic fibrosis. Methods: After institutional review board approval, a retrospective review was conducted of patients followed by 2 multidisciplinary intestinal rehabilitation programs between January 1, 2000, and September 30, 2008. Inclusion criteria were exposure to PN (>30 days) and having undergone a liver biopsy. Liver biopsy specimens were graded from 0 to 3 based upon degree of fibrosis in the pathology report. The most recent DB within 10 days before biopsy was recorded. Results: A total of 66 children underwent 83 liver biopsy procedures. The most common diagnoses included necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) (36.4%), gastroschisis (22.7%), and intestinal atresia (15.1%). Median age at biopsy was 6.1 months with a median duration of PN of 4.7 months. Of the patients, 70.3% had a history of exposure to parenteral ω-3 lipid emulsion. Of the liver biopsy specimens, 89% (74/83) demonstrated some degree of fibrosis (fibrosis scale 1-3), including 9.6% (8/83) with evidence of cirrhosis. 83% of biopsies without fibrosis and 55% of biopsies with fibrosis were obtained in patients without evidence of biochemical cholestasis (P = .20). Three (37%) of the 8 patients with cirrhosis on liver biopsy had no evidence of biochemical cholestasis. Univariate analysis identified only gestational age (GA) at birth as significantly associated with the degree of liver fibrosis (P = .03). A multivariate logistic regression model accounting for multiple biopsy procedures in patients revealed that GA was a predictor of fibrosis only in patients with a diagnosis other than NEC (P < .01). Conclusions: In children with short bowel syndrome, biochemical cholestasis does not reflect the presence or degree of histologically confirmed PN-associated liver fibrosis. Careful follow-up, combined with further refinement of diagnostic and hepatoprotective strategies, may be warranted in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-99
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Biochemical cholestasis
  • Liver fibrosis
  • Parenteral nutrition
  • Short bowel syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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