Objective To evaluate the ultrasonography (US) features of Alagille syndrome (ALGS), as compared with biliary atresia (BA) or neonatal hepatitis (NH). Methods Our study included 23 ALGS, 75 BA and 70 NH patients. The initial US images were retrospectively reviewed for gallbladder (GB) morphology with systemic classification, GB length and luminal area, presence of triangular-cord (TC) sign and hypertrophied hepatic-artery. The presence of anomalies associated with ALGS was evaluated. The diagnostic values of each finding and their combinations were evaluated. Results Both ALGS (57%) and BA (79%) were more frequently associated with abnormal GB shapes than NH (19%, all P < 0.001). The short and small GBs were more frequently observed in ALGS and BA than in NH (all P < 0.001). None in the ALGS and NH showed TC sign, while 41% in the BA did (all P < 0.001). Hypertrophied hepatic-artery was noted less frequently in both ALGS (13%) and NH (14%) than in BA (83%, all P < 0.001). The combination of US criteria with associated anomalies increased the positive-predictive-value for ALGS. Conclusion Abnormal shaped GB with absence of the TC sign and hypertrophied hepatic-artery and presence of associated anomalies can be a differential point of ALGS.
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- Abbreviations and acronyms US Ultrasonography
- ALGS Alagille syndrome
- BA Biliary atresia
- Gb Gallbladder
- NH Neonatal hepatitis
- OPC Operative cholangiography
- TC Triangular cord