Infant stool color cards to screen for biliary atresia

Late diagnosis of biliary atresia, which presents with jaundice and acholic stools, can lead to liver failure and liver transplantation. The use of an infant stool color card that can be used by the parents to detect acholic stools at home (the card is mailed back to the medical center at age 30 days) was studied in one Canadian hospital. As part of this study, multiple screening strategies of different levels of intensity were compared in addition to a passive screening strategy (handing the card to the family prior to newborn hospital discharge):  mailing the card to the family physician, reminder letters, telephone calls to the family, and phone calls to the physicians). Over six thousand families were included in this study. Under the passive screening strategy, 60 – 94% of cards were utilized, suggesting that a passive screening strategy where stool color cards are provided to parents before hospital discharge is a feasible and effective strategy. An economic analysis as part of this study also found that this strategy was cost-effective.

Home-based screening for biliary atresia using infant stool color cards. Schreiber et al, 2014.