Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia

Itoh S, et al. Phototherapy for neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. Pediatr Int. 2017 May 31.

About 60 years ago in England, phototherapy for neonatal hyperbilirubinemia was actually used in clinical practice. It was introduced in Japan about 50 years ago. However, the mechanism of how the serum bilirubin concentration was decreased by the phototherapy was still unknown. The mechanism was identified by chemists, biochemists, and pediatricians. Clarification started with the report that unconjugated bilirubin was excreted into bile after the photoirradiation of Gunn rats. After the molecular conformation of bilirubin by X-ray analysis, the mechanism for bile excretion of unconjugated bilirubin was verified based on geometric configurational photoisomers in the Gunn rat. Finally, the reaction and excretion of structural bilirubin photoisomers was proved to be the main mechanism for the decrease in serum bilirubin during phototherapy for neonatal hyperbilirubinemina, which differs from the mechanism in the Gunn rat. However, the most effective and safest light source and the optimal method to evaluate phototherapy remain unknown. Moreover, as for bronze baby syndrome which is a well-known adverse reaction to phototherapy, the substances as the etiological origin are unclear. Hence, we review phototherapy for hyperbilirubinemia including a fundamental understanding of the bilirubin photochemical reactions, and discuss the subclinical carcinogenic risk of phototherapy and the increased mortality rate of extremely very low birth weight infants due to aggressive phototherapy, which is becoming a problem an increasing.

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Maisels MJ. Managing the jaundiced newborn: a persistent challenge. CMAJ. 2015
Mar 17;187(5):335-43.

“In this review, I present an approach to managing the jaundiced newborn that is based on published guidelines. [2-5] The aim is to help clinicians identify and manage jaundice in the newborn, intervene when appropriate and, when possible, prevent bilirubin-induced brain damage. It would be ideal if the published guidelines for the management of hyperbilirubinemia, including treatment with phototherapy and exchange transfusion, were based on estimates of when the benefit of these interventions exceeded their risks and costs. These estimates should come from randomized trials or high-quality, systematic observational studies, but such studies are rare. Guidelines must therefore rely on relatively uncertain estimates of risk and benefits, often from conflicting results.”

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Wells C, Ahmed A, Musser A. Strategies for neonatal hyperbilirubinemia: a
literature review. MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2013 Nov-Dec;38(6):377-82;quiz
383-4.

“Common” neonatal jaundice can lead to dangerous levels of hyperbilirubinemia, causing neurological damage and even death. This article outlines evidence-based assessment techniques, management guidelines, and treatments for neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, addressing complexities that have arisen with new technologies and research results.

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Dijk PH, Hulzebos CV. An evidence-based view on hyperbilirubinaemia. Acta Paediatr Suppl. 2012 Apr;101(464):3-10.

Many children still suffer life-long consequences of severe hyperbilirubinaemia, which could almost always have been prevented relatively easily. Up to date, guidelines summarizing the available evidence into unambiguous recommendations are needed to guide healthcare professionals in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment for infants with hyperbilirubinaemia.

Full-text for Children’s and Emory users.


Lauer BJ, Spector ND. Hyperbilirubinemia in the newborn. Pediatr Rev. 2011 Aug; 32(8):341-9.

After completing this article, readers should be able to:

  1. List the risk factors for severe hyperbilirubinemia.
  2. Distinguish between physiologic jaundice and pathologic jaundice of the newborn.
  3. Recognize the clinical manifestations of acute bilirubin encephalopathy and the permanent clinical sequelae of kernicterus.
  4. Describe the evaluation of hyperbilirubinemia from birth through 3 months of age.
  5. Manage neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, including referral to the neonatal intensive care unit for exchange transfusion.

Full-text for Children’s users.


More PubMed results on neonatal hyperbilirubinemia.

Created 12/11/12; updated 11/17/15, 07/12/17. 

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