Cirrhosis of the liver, one of the rarer diseases of childhood, occurs more frequently than is generally recognized. Emphasis in the past has been placed on cases in which autopsy was done; few patients proved to have cirrhosis have been followed clinically for years. The clinical changes observed depend on the extent of the damage to the liver and the consequent reduction of hepatic efficiency. The disease in children usually differs from that in adults only in having a more acute onset and more rapid course. We have studied 20 children with cirrhosis, 13 of whom came to autopsy. Two patients, 5 years and 4 months of age respectively, who were proved by biopsy of the liver to have cirrhosis, have survived three and five years thus far. Studies of hepatic function have been done recently on them (table 1).
The identification of the etiologic agent in cirrhosis in human