How to Diagnose & Care for Childhood Liver Disease

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What is Childhood Liver Disease?

Childhood liver disease is a medical condition that affects children and sometimes infants. It occurs when the liver, which is the largest organ in the body, doesn’t work properly or is unable to filter toxic materials from the body. Common causes of childhood liver disease include viral infections, metabolic disorders, inherited diseases, and exposure to toxins and drugs.

Types of Childhood Liver Disease

The three most common types of childhood liver disease are hepatitis, cirrhosis, and biliary atresia.


It is an inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. It can lead to severe damage if left untreated.

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It is the result of long-term inflammation that leads to permanent scarring of the liver. It can cause the liver to become unable to function properly.

Biliary Atresia

It is a birth defect where the bile ducts, which transport bile from the liver, are blocked. This can lead to liver failure if not treated.

Diagnosis of Childhood Liver Disease

To diagnose childhood liver disease, a doctor will typically perform a physical examination, ask questions about the child’s medical history, and order tests such as blood tests and imaging studies.

Blood Tests

Blood tests can be done to check for abnormal levels of enzymes and proteins, or for viral infections or other diseases that can cause liver problems.

Imaging Tests

Imaging tests such as ultrasounds and CT scans can be used to check for any abnormalities in the liver or bile ducts.

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Liver Biopsy

A liver biopsy is performed by taking a sample of the liver to look for signs of damage. This can help the doctor find the cause of the liver disease.

Treatment of Childhood Liver Disease

The treatment for childhood liver disease will vary depending on the type and cause. Treatment may include medications, lifestyle changes, nutritional support, and surgery.


Medications such as antibiotics and antivirals may be used to treat infections or hepatitis. Drugs such as corticosteroids may be used to reduce inflammation.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes may include avoiding alcohol and drugs and avoiding contact with people who are ill.

Nutritional Support

Nutritional support may involve eating a balanced diet, avoiding certain foods, and taking supplements if necessary.


Surgery may be necessary to remove a blockage of the bile ducts or to repair damages in the liver.

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Prevention of Child Liver Disease

Preventing childhood liver disease is important in order to keep children healthy. Some steps that parents can take to help prevent liver disease in their children include getting all recommended vaccinations and avoiding contact with people who have hepatitis. Parents should also avoid giving their children drugs and alcohol and make sure they are eating a balanced diet.


Childhood liver disease is a serious medical condition that can cause severe damage if left untreated. Early diagnosis and treatment of this condition is important in order to reduce the risk of serious health problems. Parents can help prevent childhood liver disease by making sure their children are vaccinated, avoiding contact with people who are ill, and making sure their children are eating a balanced diet.

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