What is Sclerosing Cholangitis?

Sclerosing cholangitis is a disease of the bile ducts that causes swelling and inflammation in or outside of the liver. The bile ducts carry digestive liquid bile from the liver to the small intestine. The cause of sclerosing cholangitis is unknown.

In primary sclerosing cholangitis, the swelling causes scaring that causes the bile ducts to narrow and harden which can cause serious liver damage. The most utilized treatment for primary sclerosing cholangitis is a liver transplant.


The symptoms for sclerosing cholangitis in children include the following:

  • Enlarged liver
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and chills
  • Itching
  • Jaundice
  • Night sweats
  • Pain in upper right abdomen
  • Weight loss

Diagnosis and Treatment

A liver specialist can diagnose sclerosing cholangitis based on the child’s symptoms, medical history, and results from a blood test. An x-ray, MRI, or liver biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.  

Treatment for sclerosing cholangitis focuses on managing the disease and the symptoms it causes. Non-surgical treatments may include antihistamines and antibiotics. Surgical treatments may include balloon dilation, stent placement, or liver transplant.

For more information on sclerosing cholangitis or to schedule an appointment, call 314.454.5437 or 800.678.5437 or email us.