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Semin Perinatol. 2011 Jun;35(3):121-6. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2011.02.005.

Bilirubin production and the risk of bilirubin neurotoxicity.

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1
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5208, USA. dstevenson@stanford.edu

Abstract

Neonatal jaundice usually occurs in the transitional period after birth, presenting as an elevation of circulating bilirubin. Bilirubin neurotoxicity can occur if the levels of bilirubin become excessive (hyperbilirubinemia). This pathologic phenotype of newborn jaundice can develop because of excessive bilirubin production or impaired conjugation, with the risk for developing bilirubin-induced neurologic dysfunction, depending on the degree of the resultant bilirubin load. The plasma bilirubin level thus can be used to assess an infant's risk for developing bilirubin neurotoxicity relative to an infant's age in hours. Because all infants have an impaired conjugation ability, infants at greatest risk are those who have increased bilirubin production rates, because of hemolysis, for example. Therefore, developing potential preventive strategies as well as noninvasive technologies to treat and to identify infants with increased bilirubin production rates, respectively, are tantamount to reducing the incidence of bilirubin-induced neurologic dysfunction.

PMID:
21641484
DOI:
10.1053/j.semperi.2011.02.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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