Parenteral nutrition-associated cholestasis in preterm neonates: Evaluation of ursodeoxycholic acid treatment

Arie Levine, Ayala Maayan, Raanan Shamir, Gabriel Dinari*, Jacqueline Sulkes, Leah Sirotta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Objective: Parenteral nutrition is an integral part of the care of premature infants. Cholestatic liver disease is a frequent complication of prolonged parenteral nutrition, especially in premature infants. It has been suggested that ursodeoxycholic acid may alter the course of parenteral nutrition-associated cholestasis in children and adults. We attempted to determine the efficacy of ursodeoxycholic acid in premature infants with parenteral nutrition-associated cholestasis. Methods: Retrospective chart review of all infants receiving ursodeoxycholic acid for parenteral nutrition-associated cholestasis in a 40 bed neonatal intensive care unit. Efficacy of ursodeoxycholic acid was evaluated by response of bilirubin, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and alkaline phosphatase over a treatment period of at least 1 month. Results: Six infants with parenteral nutrition-associated cholestasis who had received ursodeoxycholic acid for one month were identified. Doses of ursodeoxycholic acid ranged from 1530 mg/kg/day. Cholestasis appeared at a mean age of 47±17 (mean±SD) days after a mean of 42 ±15 days of parenteral nutrition. Transaminase levels decreased in three, and either increased or did not change in the other three infants. Bilirubin levels decreased in all infants. Alkaline phosphatase showed a non significant trend to decreased levels. Consistent improvement in all infants was noted only after 10 days of full enteral nutrition. No toxicity was found during ursodeoxycholic acid treatment. Conclusions: Ursodeoxycholic acid treatment in premature infants appears to be safe, and leads to an early sustained decrease in bilirubin levels by two weeks of therapy. The response of transaminase levels was not sustained in our small cohort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-553
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999


  • Cholestasis
  • Parenteral nutrition
  • Prematurity
  • Ursodeoxycholic acid


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