Neonatal Jaundice or Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia is a common condition observed in neonates, especially in the first 7-10 days of life. Immature neonatal livers, especially those of preterm babies are unable to process and eliminate bilirubin which may lead to neonatal jaundice.
In most cases, is mild and self-limited.
However, if jaundice is rapidly progressing for more than 2 weeks in terms and 3 weeks in preterms, then it may be an indication of an underlying condition. High levels of bilirubin can cause permanent damage like cerebral palsy or other forms of brain damage, deafness, etc.
The neonates that are at high risk of developing jaundice are:
- Preterm babies
- Babies whose blood type is not compatible with mother’s blood type (ABO and Rh incompatibility)
- Babies with decreased feeding
- Babies who are bruised at birth or suffer from any other internal bleeding
- Babies with liver problems
- Babies with congenital infections
Symptoms of Neonatal Jaundice:
Most obvious symptoms of neonatal jaundice are yellowish discolouration of skin and eyes. Other symptoms of neonatal jaundice are:
- Pale coloured stools (white stools)
- Dark yellow coloured urine
- Dark yellow coloured staining of diapers
- Poor feeding
Diagnosis of Neonatal Jaundice:
Neonatal jaundice is mostly diagnosed by the physical examination of the baby. The severity of jaundice is further investigated by measuring the bilirubin levels in the blood. The tests conducted are:
- Total serum bilirubin (TSB)
- Direct and indirect fraction
- Blood grouping and typing
- Haemogram with peripheral smear
If jaundice persists for longer than 2 weeks, further blood tests are conducted to check for underlying conditions.
Treatment of Neonatal Jaundice:
If a neonate is suffering from mild jaundice (physiological jaundice), no treatment is provided as it improves by itself.
If the severity of jaundice is high, the neonate is admitted to the hospital for further treatments. The treatments are:
- Phototherapy (single and double surface): Phototherapy is a popular therapy used to treat neonates with jaundice. The baby is exposed to blue light of a particular wavelength and intensity. Single phototherapy (SP) is a more commonly used method. However, when the severity of jaundice is high, more intensity and larger exposure are required. This is achieved by using as double phototherapy.
- Double volume exchange transfusion: When phototherapy fails to reduce the neonatal jaundice, double volume exchange transfusion is done.
- Advancements in treatment of neonatal jaundice are: biliblanket, LED lights, intravenous immunoglobulins, etc.
Department of Neonatology in Giggles by OMNI, Vizag is well equipped with sophisticated instruments that treat neonatal jaundice. Giggles by OMNI has the best neonatologist in Vizag.