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Early Hum Dev. 1982 Sep;6(4):341-55.

Risk of bilirubin acid precipitation in preterm infants with respiratory distress syndrome: considerations of blood/brain bilirubin transfer equilibrium.


Twenty-six preterm infants with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), were examined daily during the first 6 days of life. Twenty-six equally preterm but clinically well infants served as controls. In the RDS infants, plasma albumin concentration was low, hyperbilirubinemia was prolonged, plasma pH was decreased during the first two days, and the concentration of reserve albumin for binding of monoacetyldiaminodiphenylsulfone (MADDS), a deputy ligand for bilirubin, was decreased on the second throughout the sixth day, when compared with the controls. These factors concur in increasing the likelihood of bilirubin acid precipitation in RDS above the increased risk present in preterm infants. The plasma of the preterm controls was supersaturated with respect to crystalline bilirubin acid by an average factor 5 (index of plasma bilirubin toxicity = 0.7) on the first day of life, peaking at a factor 10 (index 1.0) on the third and fourth days while these factors were 10 and 20 (index 1.0 and 1.3), respectively, in the RDS infants. Two of the latter surpassed a level of 60 times supersaturation (index 1.8) where acute precipitation of amorphous bilirubin acid becomes possible.

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