Primary sclerosing cholangitis in five children is described and 78 cases in the pediatric age group are reviewed. In 24% of the cases, primary sclerosing cholangitis is not associated with an underlying disease and may appear to be prolonged cholestasis of infancy. When an associated condition is present, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, in particular ulcerative colitis, is most common (47%). Histiocytosis X and a variety of immune disorders account for 15% and 10% of cases, respectively. Primary sclerosing cholangitis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of chronic liver disease in the pediatric age group, even in young infants. Results of this survey demonstrate that neither clinical features nor liver function tests are reliable diagnostic predictors, that histologic changes are often nonspecific, and that cholangiography is essential to establish the correct diagnosis.

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