Biliary Atresia Clinical Care Program

Glossary of Biliary Atresia Terms

Jump to: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | J | K | L | M | N | P | S | T | V | X

A

Abdomen

The area between the chest and the hips. Contains the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas and spleen.

Acholic

Without pigmentation or color.

Albumin

A protein produced by the liver.

ALT

An enzyme released into the blood when liver cells are inflamed.

Anastomosis

An operation to connect two body parts. An example is an operation in which a part of the colon is removed and the two remaining ends are rejoined.

Anomaly

Any condition or structure that is different from the average.

Ascites

Accumulation of fluids in the abdominal cavity.

Asplenia

Absence of the spleen.

AST

An enzyme released into the blood when liver cells are inflamed.

Atresia

Lack of a normal opening.

B

Bile

Fluid made by the liver and stored in the gallbladder; it helps break down fat and rid the body of waste.

Bile acids

Steroid acids found in bile (i.e. taurocholic and glycocholic acids).

Bile ducts

Any of the ducts that convey bile in and from the liver.

Bile duct paucity

Reduced number of bile ducts.

Bile duct proliferation

An increased number of bile ducts.

Biliary

Related to the liver's bile-carrying structures.

Biliary atresia

A condition present from the newborn period in which the bile ducts inside or outside the liver do not have normal openings. Bile becomes trapped in the liver, causing jaundice. Without surgery the condition may cause death.

Biliary Atresia Splenic Malformation Syndrome (BASM)

Biliary atresia is associated with several malformations including a malformation of the spleen, i.e. asplenia or polysplenia.

Biliary cirrhosis

Cirrhosis of the liver due to obstruction of the biliary tree.

Biliary stricture

A narrowing of the biliary tract from scar tissue.

Biliary tract

The liver's bile-carrying structures, which are the gallbladder and the bile ducts; also called the biliary system or the biliary tree.

Bilirubin

The substance formed when hemoglobin breaks down. Bilirubin gives bile its color. Bilirubin is normally passed in stool. Too much bilirubin causes jaundice.

Biopsy

The removal of a small piece of tissue for study under a microscope.

Bowel

another word for the small and large intestines.

C

Cholangiogram

A series of x-rays of the bile ducts.

Cholangitis

Irritated or infected bile ducts.

Cholestatis

Decreased bile flow.

Cholestatic jaundice

Jaundice resulting from an abnormality in the flow of bile.

Cirrhosis

A chronic liver condition caused by a scarred damaged liver.

Common bile duct

The tube that carry bile from the liver to the small intestine.

Congenital

Existing from birth.

Corticosteroids

Medicines used to reduce irritation and inflammation in certain circumstances.

Culture

A sample of body fluids or secretions (for example: blood, urine or stool) obtained to check for bacteria or viruses where there is suspected infection.

Cystic duct

The tube that carries bile from the gallbladder into the common bile duct and the small intestine

D

Distention

Bloating or swelling of the abdomen.

DISIDA

A special imaging study used to determine uptake and blockage in the liver.

E

Edema

The presence of abnormally large amounts of fluid in certain spaces of the body.

Elemental formula

A nutritionally complete formula that requires little or no digestion. It contains a mixture of proteins, sugar, fat and vitamins in an easy-to-digest and hypoallergenic form.

Enteral nutrition

Nutritional support given via any route connected to the gastrointestinal system. Oral feeding, sip feeding, and feeding using nasogastric, gastrostomy and jejunostomy tubes are all enteral nutrition.

Esophageal varices

Engorged (stretched) veins in the esophagus that occur when the liver is not working properly.

Extrahepatic biliary tree

The bile ducts located outside the liver

F

Fat-soluble vitamins

The four fat-soluble vitamins — A, D, E and K — that travel with fat. Any condition that interferes with the normal absorption of fats would result in poor absorption of these vitamins.

Fibrosis

The formation of fibrous tissue, fibroid or fibrous degeneration.

Fulminate hepatic failure

A sudden onset of liver failure in a previously healthy person.

G

Gallbladder

The organ that stores the bile made in the liver. Connected to the liver by bile ducts. The gallbladder can store about 1 cup of bile. Eating signals the gallbladder to empty the bile through the bile ducts to help digest fats.

Gastroenterologist

A doctor who specializes in digestive diseases.

GGT

An enzyme released into the blood that reflects irritation of the biliary tree, typically measured as part of a liver panel.

H

Hepatic

Related to the liver.

Hepatitis

Inflammation of the liver that sometimes causes permanent damage. Hepatitis may be caused by viruses or by medicines.

Hepatocyte

Main cell type in the liver.

Hepatologist

A doctor who specializes in liver diseases.

Hepatology

The field of medicine concerned with the functions and disorders of the liver.

Hepatomegaly

Enlargement of the liver.

Hepatoportoenterostomy

A surgical procedure performed to restore bile flow in children with Biliary Atresia. Also called a Kasai procedure.

Heterotaxy

A condition when an organ in the body is not positioned in the normal way, in relation to the other organs.

Hyperbilirubinemia

Too much bilirubin in the blood; symptoms include jaundice.

J

Jaundice

Yellowish skin color caused by bile buildup in the blood.

K

Kasai procedure

A surgery performed to restore bile flow in children with Biliary Atresia. Also called a hepatoportoenterostomy.

L

Liver

The largest organ in the body. The liver carries out many important functions, such as making bile, changing food into energy, and cleaning alcohol and poisons from the blood.

Liver enzyme tests

Also called liver function tests; tests that evaluate how well the liver and biliary system are working.

Liver biopsy

A procedure where a piece of liver is obtained for diagnostic purposes.

M

Medium-chain tryglycerides

Dietary fats that are digested and absorbed differently from other dietary fats; helpful in treating fat malabsorption.

Malformation

The resulting condition when normal development does not occur. Examples include cleft palate or cleft lip.

N

Neonatal hepatitis

Hepatitis of unknown cause that occurs in the first few weeks of life.

P

Pathologist

A doctor who specializes in examining tissue samples to make a diagnosis.

Percutaneous

Passing through the skin.

Polysplenia

The condition of having more than one spleen.

Portal hypertension

High blood pressure in the portal vein that carries blood to the liver; a common complication of cirrhosis.

Portal vein

The large vein that carries blood from the intestines and spleen to the liver.

Pruritus

Severe itching.

S

Sclerotherapy

A method of stopping upper GI bleeding. A needle is inserted through an endoscope to bring hardening agents to the place that is bleeding.

Situs

Reversal of position or location.

Spleen

The organ that filters blood and removes old blood cells and debris.

Splenomegaly

Enlarged spleen.

Steroids

See corticosteroids.

T

Transaminases

Liver enzyme test.

V

Varices

Stretched veins such as those that form in the esophagus from cirrhosis

X

Xanthomas

Bumps on the skin resulting from fat deposits; usually seen at the creases at the elbows, knees and the diaper line.

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