KERNICTERUS

  • A type of damage to the brain that can stem from high levels of bilirubin in the blood of a baby.
    • May cause the athetoid type of cerebral palsy and loss of hearing.
    • May also cause vision and teeth problems, and impaired intellect.
  • Prevention can be done by detecting and managing jaundice early.

First appears on the face and then, as levels of bilirubin increase, moves downward to the chest, abdomen, arms, and legs. The white part of the eyes (sclera) can also appear yellow.

  • May be more difficult to see in babies with darker skin color.

DIAGNOSIS

Physician may do/request:

  • History & Physical Exam
  • Other Additional tests such as:
    • Blood sampling for total serum bilirubin level.
      • Bilirubin levels – usually highest when baby is 3 to 5 days old.
      • Babies should be checked for jaundice every 8 to 12 hours in the first 48 hours of life and again before 5 days of age.

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

  • Phototherapy
  • Increased milk intake
  • Blood transfusion – for severe cases

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