Neonatal Jaundice

Jaundice in newborn babies up to a week old is called physiological jaundice. Jaundice that lasts for more than two weeks is called prolonged jaundice. Prolonged jaundice can be a sign of serious liver disease. Jaundice that develops in the first 24 hours of a baby’s life requires urgent medical attention.

Causes—

  • Physiological jaundice
  • Maternal-fetal blood group incompatibility (Rh, ABO)
  • Breast milk jaundice

Certain chemicals in breast milk are thought to be responsible. It is usually a harmless condition that resolves spontaneously

  • Breast feeding jaundice
    It occurs when the breastfed newborn does not receive adequate breast milk intake.
  • Cephalohematoma (a collection of blood under the scalp)
  • Prematurity
  • Metabolic liver disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • G6PD deficiency
  • Gilbert’s syndrome
  • Crigler-Najjar syndrome
  • Hepatitis

 Symptoms And Signs–           

  • Slightly yellow skin
  • Yellow coloration (whites of eyes, mouth, soles of feet, palms of hands, chest, stomach)
  • Lethargy
  • Changes in muscle tone
  • High-pitched crying
  • Seizures
  • Pruritus
  • Poor sucking or feeding
  • Sleepiness
  • Limpness
  • Dark urine
  • White or creamy feces

Investigations–

  • Blood test–
    1. Bilirubin
    2. ABORh
  • Urine test
  • Stool test

Treatment—

Jaundice usually disappears after 10 to 14 days, but it may last up to three weeks in premature babies

  1. Phototherapy (treatment with UV light)
  2. An exchange transfusion

Complications—

Kernicterus 

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