Jaundice, neonatal

Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes in newborn babies, due to accumulation of bilirubin in the blood. It usually results from the liver being immature and unable to excrete bilirubin efficiently. This form of jaundice is usually harmless and disappears within a week. Rarely, severe or persistent neonatal jaundice is caused by haemolytic disease of the newborn, G6PD deficiency, hepatitis, hypothyroidism, biliary atresia, or infection. Jaundiced babies usually require extra fluids and may be treated with phototherapy. Exchange transfusion (see blood transfusion) may be needed in severe cases. If severe neonatal jaundice is not treated promptly, kernicterus may occur.


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