Neonatal cholestasis: Opportunities to increase early detection

Department of Pediatrics, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.
Academic pediatrics (Impact Factor: 2.01). 05/2012; 12(4):283-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.acap.2012.03.021
Source: PubMed


To describe primary care management of early and prolonged jaundice in otherwise-healthy term infants to identify opportunities to increase early diagnosis of cholestasis.
Community-based pediatricians in St Louis, Missouri completed a mailed, anonymous, 29-item survey to assess practice demographics, timing of routine newborn office visits, and the management of early and prolonged neonatal jaundice.
A total of 108 of 230 (47%) of eligible physicians responded (mean years in practice, 15.3, SD, 9.4). More respondents were very familiar with national guidelines for management of early (49%) than prolonged (16%) neonatal jaundice. Eighty-six percent reported all newborns were checked with transcutaneous bilirubin before hospital discharge. For transcutaneous bilirubin results at 48 hours of 7, 10, 12 and 15 mg/dL, 1%, 26%, 70%, and 74% of respondents, respectively, would order a fractionated bilirubin. Although the first routine visit usually occurred in the first week after discharge, 25% of physicians reported the 2nd visit was routinely scheduled after 4 weeks of age. Ninety-four percent reported they would obtain a fractionated bilirubin for infants jaundiced beyond 4 weeks of age. If cholestasis was identified at 6 weeks of age, 32% would obtain additional testing without referral to a subspecialist.
Management of early and prolonged neonatal jaundice is variable. Current practices appear to miss opportunities for early diagnosis of cholestasis and referral that are unlikely to be addressed without redesigning systems of care.

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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to find-out the possible etiologies in Iranian infants less than three months in Shiraz, South of Iran. Cholestatic jaundice most probably occurs due to a pathological condition and the most frequent causes in early infancy are neonatal hepatitis and biliary atresia. Early diagnosis and treatment of infantile cholestasis can improve prognosis of liver diseases by prevention of the complications of these disorders. In this retrospective study, 122 infants under 3 months of age with cholestasis were studied in Nemazee Hospital (affiliated to Shiraz University of Medical Sciences) during the years 2001-2011. Demographic data, duration of jaundice, liver biopsy and the causes of cholestasis were recorded. There were 76 males (62.3%) and 46 females (37.7%) with a mean age of 54.4 ± 23.7 days. The most common clinical finding was jaundice that was seen in all patients (100%).The onset of jaundice was the first day to the fifty two days of age, with an average age of 15.6 ± 16.1 days. Other findings included hepatomegaly in 92 patients (76.4%), clay-color stool in 54 (44.3%), and splenomegaly in 29 patients (23.8%). In this study, the most common causes of cholestasis were biliary atresia (30=24.6%), idiopathic neonatal hepatitis (30= 24.6%) and bile ducts paucity (16=10.3). The results of this study showed that biliary atresia and neonatal hepatitis are the most common causes of infantile cholestasis in this area. It is recommended that biliary atresia should be discriminated from other forms of neonatal cholestasis.
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