newborn jaundicemedical dictionary

<paediatrics> A normal condition of elevated bilirubin in the bloodstream of a newborn.

This occurs secondary to immaturity of liver cells (cannot effectively metabolise bilirubin) and the increased destruction of red blood cells (further releasing bilirubin into the bloodstream) that is normally seen in the newborn.

The jaundice usually appears between the 2nd and 5th days of life and usually clears by 2 weeks. Other factors which can potentiate jaundice in the newborn include: sepsis, biliary atresia, Rhesus incompatibility, galactosaemia, cephalohaematoma, polycythaemia, G-6-P-D deficiency and congenital rubella, syphilis, toxoplasmosis or cytomegalovirus infection.

(10 Jan 1998)

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