- Jaundice is a yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes resulting
from high levels of bilirubin in the blood (hyperbilirubinemia) and tissue
caused by normal or accelerated breakdown of red blood cells.
- Jaundice typically occurs within the first few days of
life and in most cases is benign.
- Because of the potential toxicity of bilirubin, newborn
infants must be monitored to identify those
who might develop severe
hyperbilirubinemia and, in rare cases, acute bilirubin encephalopathy or
- Jaundice is the most common health condition requiring
medical attention in newborns, typically phototherapy or blood
- There are two types of jaundice: direct and indirect
- Phototherapy treats indirect hyperbilirubinemia.
- Discovered in 50’s and 60’s, phototherapy chemically
changes billirubin molecules to a water-soluble form as light penetrates skin
- Changed molecules enter the liver cell are:
- Excreted into the bile, urine and stool
- Eliminated from body.
- Some of these new molecules can be changed back to
their original form.