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Biliary Atresia Home Screening Program

Biliary atresia is a rare but serious liver disease that begins to affect newborns in the first month of life. It is the most common reason why children need a liver transplant, and it is life-threatening if it is not treated.
For Health Care Providers

This section provides resources to assist health care providers in offering genetic screening in their medical practice. To navigate through this section, use the menu below (you can expand (+) or collapse (-) the menu as needed. 

New evaluation of the first 2 years of the Biliary Atresia Home Screening Program has been published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. Read the full article here

Effective April 2015, the BC Infant Stool Colour Card is a nine-colour card. There are six boxes depicting abnormal stool colour and three boxes depicting normal stool colour. The previous version contained three abnormal and three normal stool colours.

Changes were also made to the text to make instructions clearer and to emphasize that if the family goes to their health care provider during the first month concerned about their infant’s stool colour, they should take the card with them to help facilitate follow-up. 

All changes were made to reflect feedback from care providers and parents.

The new card has been translated into multiple languages - see box on the right. Please note these cards are not intended to be used for the colours. Families should always refer to the English card for accurate colours and refer to the translated version for instructions. 

We have also updated the Nurse Script to support nurses and midwives with their communication to families at discharge.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please contact us at:

Phone: 604-877-2121

Background for Health Care Providers

In March 2014, we posted a presentation by Dr. Rick Schreiber, Director, BC Pediatric Liver Transplant Program at BC Children's Hospital. Topics include biliary atresia, the Canadian experience, a pilot feasibility study, and the Biliary Atresia Home Screening Program, which launched in BC in 2013. Note: We recommend watching the video with the presentation slides.

Training for Nurses and Midwives

In March 2014, we posted a training video developed specifically for maternity care nurses and midwives to learn how to teach new parents about biliary atresia home screening. Please note: As of April 2015, the stool colour card now has nine colours (six abnormal, three normal).

Download the Nurse Script to help communicate with families at discharge.

Refer to the Canadian Biliary Atresia Registry for information on the treatment of BA across Canada in order to optimize standards of BA care and provide a national collaborative platform for research, education, and knowledge transfer.

‎If an infant older than two weeks is still jaundiced and presents at your office with an abnormal stool colour, order a blood test for bilirubin.

For Families

What are the warning signs?

It is very normal to see yellow colour of your baby’s skin or eyes (a condition known as jaundice) in the first few days after birth. However, some babies may have jaundice that lasts longer than two weeks. If your baby has jaundice for longer than two weeks and also has pale yellow, pale green, chalk white, or clay coloured stools, these are warning signs that your baby could have biliary atresia.

How can parents help screen for biliary atresia?

Check your baby’s stool colour every day for the first month after birth. If at any time you notice that your baby has an abnormal stool colour (see abnormal stool colours – number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6), please contact us at:

Toll-Free Number: 1-877-583-7842 (1-877-5-TEST-4-BA)

Please make sure that the following information is included in your phone message or email:

  • your name and phone number;
  • date of birth;
  • name of the hospital where your baby was born; and
  • mother's first name, last name and maiden name.

If you decide to go to your doctor as well, take the stool colour card with you. This will help you describe your baby’s symptoms and stool colour to your doctor. And if your baby is older than two weeks of age and is still jaundiced, ask your doctor to order a bilirubin test.

Translated Versions

The stool colour card is available in multiple languages (see list on the right) to help with translation. Please note these cards are not intended to be used for the colours. You should always refer to the English card for accurate colours and refer to the translated version for instructions.


October 31, 2016 - Newborn’s Life Saved by Screening Program

News & Stories

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