Neonatal jaundice can represent a benign physiologic process or be the harbinger of serious illness with associated severe neurotoxicity. The neurological manifestations of kernicterus, a condition resulting from the deposition of unconjugated bilirubin in the central nervous system, are rarely seen in modern neonatal care, but jaundice, which reflects elevated serum bilirubin levels, is one of the most common findings in the neonatal period.1 More than half of all term infants will develop some neonatal jaundice and at least 6% will have a serum bilirubin concentration above 12.9 mg/dL.2 The appropriate treatment of hyperbilirubinemia is currently a topic of much debate in pediatrics, particularly treatment of full term infants without risk factors for hemolytic disease.3,4
- Received August 9, 1993.
- Accepted November 19, 1993.
- Copyright © 1994 by the American Academy of Pediatrics