JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Stool color card screening for biliary atresia.

Pediatrics 2011 November
INTRODUCTION: Biliary atresia is a major cause of extrahepatic obstructive jaundice in neonates. Early Kasai operation is the gold standard of treatment. In this study, we evaluated the effectiveness of stool color card screening by using claims data from the National Health Insurance Research Database.

METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study. Data from medical charts of all inpatients who were diagnosed with biliary atresia from 1996 to 2008 were collected from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database. Patients who received a Kasai operation or liver transplant were identified by the Operation code. The patients' gender, age at admission, and type of operation were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS: From 1996 to 2008, the overall incidence of biliary atresia was 1.48 per 10,000 live births. The median age at first admission for patients with suspected biliary atresia decreased after the implementation of stool color card screening (47 vs 43 days). The proportion of very late referral decreased from 9.5% to 4.9%. The median age of Kasai operation advanced from 51 to 48 days. The proportions of Kasai operation within 60 days of age were 68.9% before and 73.6% after screening program.

CONCLUSION: Stool color card screening seemed to increase parents' and physicians' awareness of biliary atresia. It also was associated with a decline in the proportion of late referral. Thus, screening might be especially effective in areas with high a proportion of late referral. Improvements in the speed of workup and the operation room should be the focus of education and training in the future.

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