R Vinola, P Ram Mohan Reddy, T Samyuktha, D Sujin, S Saran Kumar and D Hepcy Kalarani
Neonatal jaundice is a yellowish discoloration of the white part of the eyes and skin in a newborn baby due to high bilirubin levels. Other symptoms may include excess sleepiness or poor feeding. Complications may include seizures, cerebral palsy, or kernicterus. In many cases there is no specific underlying disorder (physiologic). In other cases it results from red blood cell breakdown, liver disease, infection, hypothyroidism, or metabolic disorders (pathologic). A bilirubin level more than 34 μmol/l (2 mg/dL) may be visible. Concerns, in otherwise healthy babies, occur when levels are greater than 308 μmol/L (18 mg/dL), jaundice is noticed in the first day of life, there is a rapid rise in levels, jaundice lasts more than two weeks, or the baby appears unwell. In those with concerning findings further investigations to determine the underlying cause are recommended.
The need for treatment depends on bilirubin levels, the age of the child, and the underlying cause. Treatments may include more frequent feeding, phototherapy, or transfusions. In those who are born early more aggressive treatment tends to be required. Physiologic jaundice generally lasts less than seven days. The condition affecting over half of babies in the first week of life of babies that are born early about 80% are affected.
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