Foundation Introduction
Hepatobiliary disease is one of the major causes of death during childhood.
Hepatobiliary diseases are not only common childhood diseases but also one of leading causes of death in children.  The prevalence of such diseases is high in Taiwan.  For example, Taiwan’s incidence of Biliary Atresia is 1.5-2 in every 10,000 live births in contrast to 0.6-0.8 in every 10,000 live births among western countries. Intrahepatic cholestasis occurs at a frequency of about twice to three times that of Biliary Atresia.  Other diseases in this category including chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, hepatic tumor, metabolic liver diseases, and fulminant hepatic failure, all have major impacts upon our children’s health.  The families of children who suffer from hepatobiliary diseases will not only face significant and long term strains, but society as a whole will also be affected, not to mention the inconsolable pain families would have to face at the loss of their loved one.

Difficulty in diagnosis and treatment of children’s hepatobiliary diseases
Children who are diagnosed early have a better prognosis in the management of hepatobiliary diseases.  Unfortunately, it is often delayed because of either ambiguous symptoms or limited awareness among the general public.  Complicated by an inherent difficulty in diagnosis and treatment, not all patients have been satisfactorily taken care of.  Biliary Atresia, for example, presents itself with jaundice of the skin and clay-color stool. This however could sometimes fail to draw enough attention from parents and could even pose a challenge to pediatricians in making the correct diagnosis and differentiating it from other diseases.  Without the optimal surgical interventions in the first two months, the bile flow would be hardly re-established incurring a poor prognosis.  Even with intervention within the first two months, patients with Biliary Atresia still likely suffer from other medical challenges, such as tedious post-op care, expensive medications, and demanding nutritional support.  Under these circumstances, a dedicated organization is indispensible to parents and patients, serving as a resource that supports and shares successful experiences and knowledge, alleviating the devastating pressure upon parents.  With inapparent symptoms of chronic hepatitis or metabolic liver diseases among children, a diagnosis through screening is essential as many of those diseases have an onset during childhood and progress to an advanced stage in adulthood.  Thus improved treatments can be obtained only after educating the general public and medical professionals with the relevant knowledge and conducting dedicated research in the field.

Another option – Liver Transplants
Liver transplants are the only remaining option for sufferers of hepatic failure who have been unresponsive to medical treatments or patients with Biliary Atresia who have already received Kasai operational interventions that failed.  With dedicated efforts from our medical professionals, the success and survival rate of liver transplant patients has been improving steadily year after year to very optimistic levels.  Nonetheless many difficulties still stand in the way, before and after a liver transplant.  Psychological support for both the patient and their family is one of those factors, while post-op care is another.  This crucial support requires a dedicated organization to meet these challenges and provide the support needed.