The jaundiced newborn. Understanding and managing transitional hyperbilirubinemia

ArticleinMinerva pediatrica 54(5):373-82 · November 2002with19 Reads
Impact Factor: 0.43 · Source: PubMed

    Abstract

    Neonatal jaundice is one of the most common conditions diagnosed by the pediatrician. This normally benign transitional phenomenon is a dynamic balance between the production and elimination of bilirubin. These processes can be exacerbated by a number of pathophysiologic conditions, which cause either an increase in bilirubin production rates, such as hemolysis, or a decrease in bilirubin elimination rates, such as bilirubin conjugation defects. The most dangerous circumstance for an infant is the combination of increased bilirubin production with impaired elimination. These infants are at considerable risk for developing excessive and potentially dangerous hyperbilirubinemia and subsequent kernicterus. Therefore, the importance of early recognition of the imbalance is paramount. In this review, we will discuss the various risk factors associated with hyperbilirubinemia and describe strategies for the diagnosis and management of transitional hyperbilirubinemia.