AIM: To determine if children with neonatal cholestatic liver disease had concurrent and later findings on brain imaging studies that could be attributed and the cholestasis to contribute to the understanding of the impaired neuropsychological development.

METHODS: Ovid MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched on July 21, 2022, and updated on March 26, 2023. Studies with children under 18 years of age with neonatal cholestasis and a brain scan at the time of diagnosis or later in life were included. Excluded studies were non-English, non-human, reviews or conference abstracts. Data were extracted on demographics, brain imaging findings, treatment and outcome. The results were summarised by disease categories. Risk of bias was assessed using JBI critical appraisal tools.

RESULTS: The search yielded 12 011 reports, of which 1261 underwent full text review and 89 were eligible for inclusion. Haemorrhage was the most common finding, especially in children with bile duct obstruction, including biliary atresia. Some findings were resolved after liver transplantation.

CONCLUSION: Children with neonatal cholestasis had changes in brain imaging, which might play a role in impaired neuropsychological development, but longitudinal clinical research with structured assessment is needed to better qualify the aetiology of the impairment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa paediatrica
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1168-1185
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Brain/diagnostic imaging
  • Child
  • Cholestasis/diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neuroimaging
  • brain imaging
  • biliary atresia
  • children
  • neonatal cholestasis


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