Asymptomatic bile duct dilatation in children: Is it a disease?

Yeo Ju Son, Mi Jung Lee, Hong Koh, Seung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Bile duct dilatation is a relatively common sonographic finding; nevertheless, its clinical significance in children is controversial because little research has been done in the area. Therefore, we investigated the natural course and clinical significance of biliary duct dilatation in children. Methods: We performed a retrospective study of 181 children (range, 1-day-old to 17-year-old) in whom dilatation of the intrahepatic duct and/or common hepatic duct and/or common bile duct was detected by abdominal ultrasonography at the Severance Children's Hospital between November 2005 and March 2014. We reviewed and analyzed laboratory test results, clinical manifestations, and clinical course in these patients. Results: Pediatric patients (n=181) were enrolled in the study and divided into two groups. The first group included 59 subjects, without definitive cause of bile duct dilatation, who did not require treatment; the second group included 122 subjects, with definitive cause of bile duct dilatation or underlying biliary disease, who did require treatment. In the first group, 24 patients (40.7%) showed spontaneous resolution of bile duct dilatation, 20 patients (33.9%) showed no change, and 15 patients (25.4%) were lost to follow-up. In the second group, 31 patients were diagnosed with choledochal cysts, and 91 patients presented with biliary tract dilatations due to secondary causes, such as gallbladder or liver disease, post-operative complications, or malignancy. Conclusion: Biliary dilatation in pediatric patients without symptoms, and without laboratory and other sonographic abnormalities, showed a benign clinical course. No pathologic conditions were noted on follow-up ultrasonography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-186
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 by The Korean Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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