Assessing jaundice in infants of 35-week gestation and greater. Curr Opin Pediatr

Department of Pediatrics, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA.
Current opinion in pediatrics (Impact Factor: 2.53). 06/2010; 22(3):352-65. DOI: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e328339603f
Source: PubMed


In 2004, the American Academy of Pediatrics officially recommended universal predischarge risk assessment for severe neonatal hyperbilirubinemia with the goal of minimizing subsequent risk of chronic bilirubin encephalopathy (formerly known as kernicterus). In this article, we review recent research regarding jaundice predischarge risk assessment, current expert recommendations for universal predischarge bilirubin screening, and concerns expressed in the literature regarding these recommendations.
A group of experts have recently recommended universal predischarge bilirubin screening to identify newborns at risk for developing severe neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. In contrast, the United States Preventive Services Task Force states that there is insufficient evidence to make this recommendation. Transcutaneous bilirubinometry has emerged as a noninvasive, quick method to screen for neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, although refinement and validation of transcutaneous bilirubin nomograms are needed. Newer studies suggest that the combined use of a predischarge bilirubin and gestational age risk assessment offers a simple, objective, and accurate way to identify infants at risk for subsequent, severe hyperbilirubinemia.
All newborns should be systematically assessed for risk of developing severe hyperbilirubinemia prior to hospital discharge. Although limited data exist to recommend its use universally, predischarge bilirubin screening should be considered given recent expert opinion. The role of transcutaneous bilirubinometry remains promising, although further research evaluating and validating its use in varied and diverse populations is imperative. Combined models of risk assessment may offer the best approach to identifying infants at risk for subsequent, severe hyperbilirubinemia.

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    • "Infant bilirubin that increases in the fi rst 24 hours, refuses to drop, or has no obvious etiology should be suspected of pathology (Colletti et al., 2007) such as maternal–fetal ABO/Rh incompatibility (Maisels, 2006; Preer & Philipp, 379 on VaB (Bhutani, Vilms, & Hamerman-Johnson, 2010; Lease & Whalen, 2010). However, AAP (2004) guidelines still recognize use of VaB in jaundice detection. "
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