Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Newborn Jaundice Overview

Another name for Newborn Jaundice is Neonatal Jaundice.

What is neonatal jaundice?
A newborn with neonatal jaundice has yellow skin and yellow eyes, due to abnormally high levels of bilirubin in the bloodstream. Normally, red blood cells are broken down the liver and spleen. Bilirubin is produced from the breakdown of hemoglobin, which is the molecule that carries oxygen inside red blood cells. Most cases of neonatal jaundice are caused by abnormally slow breakdown of bilirubin by the liver. Neonatal jaundice occurs in about 1 out 25 newborns.

What are the symptoms of neonatal jaundice?
Symptoms of neonatal jaundice include yellow skin, brown urine, yellow eyes, excessive sleepiness, infant fussiness, and poor feeding in infants.

How does the doctor treat neonatal jaundice?
Usually, treatment is not necessary for neonatal jaundice. The jaundice usually resolves in 7 to 14 days. Treatment for severe neonatal jaundice may include phototherapy, immune globulin, or a blood transfusion.

Continue to Newborn Jaundice Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 14, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Newborn Jaundice References
  1. Dennery PA. Pharmacological interventions for the treatment of neonatal jaundice. Semin Neonatol. 2002 Apr;7(2):111-9. [12208095]
  2. Faber BM, Mills JF. Early intravenous nutrition for the prevention of neonatal jaundice. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(3):CD003846. [12917992]
  3. Gourley GR. Breast-feeding, neonatal jaundice and kernicterus. Semin Neonatol. 2002 Apr;7(2):135-41. [12208098]
  4. Madlon-Kay DJ. Maternal assessment of neonatal jaundice after hospital discharge. J Fam Pract. 2002 May;51(5):445-8. [12019052]
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