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J Pediatr. 1995 Jan;126(1):102-8.

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency and carboxyhemoglobin concentrations associated with bilirubin-related morbidity and death in Nigerian infants.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.


Our objective was to determine whether glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency and elevated carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) levels correlated with bilirubin-related morbidity and mortality rates. For this purpose, we studied 55 clinically jaundiced infants admitted to a rural mission hospital in southern Nigeria. Total serum bilirubin levels (range, 80 to 1016 mumol/L (4.7 to 59.4 mg/dl)) correlated with the percentage COHb concentrations (COHb = 0.45 + 0.08 Total serum bilirubin; r = 0.72). Infants were divided into two groups of equal size around the median COHb concentration (COHb range, 0.43% to 5.93% (median = 1.40%), with ambient carbon monoxide of 0.65 +/- 0.03 microL/L). The COHb levels > or = 1.40% were associated with the need for exchange transfusion (15/28, or 54%, vs 5/27, or 19%; p < 0.01) and with an increased incidence of clinical findings compatible with kernicterus (9/28, or 32%, vs 0/27, or 0%; p < 0.01). Mortality rate was 29% (8/29) among infants with higher COHb levels, and 7% (2/28) in those with lower levels (p = 0.08). Thirty-one percent (14/45) of the clinically jaundiced infants tested had G6PD deficiency. Thirty-six percent of the infants with G6PD deficiency died with presumed kernicterus, compared with only 3% (1/31) of the infants with a normal G6PD screening test result (p < 0.01). These data suggest that G6PD deficiency and increased bilirubin production, as indexed by COHb, are associated with jaundice-related morbidity and death in Nigerian infants.

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