Encyclopedia > Jaundice

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Jaundice is a pathologic state when there is excess of bilirubin in blood plasma as well as other body fluids.
It is characterized by yellow coloration of skin and sclera of eyeballs. Usually hyperbilirubinemia[?] must exceed 2-3 mg% for the coloration to be easily visible.

Causes of jaundice :

Neonatal jaundice is usually harmless: this condition is often seen in babies around the second day after birth, lasting till day 8 in normal births, or to around day 14 in premature births. Serum bilirubin normally drops to a low level without any intervention required: the jaundice is presumably a consequence of metabolic and physiological adjustments after birth. Infants with neonatal jaudice are typically treated by exposing them to high levels of blue light which breaks down the bilirubin. Brief exposure to direct sunlight each day and breastfeeding are also helpful.

Fetal hemoglobin is replaced with "normal" hemoglobin and hepatic metabolic pathways are not fully matured so it results in hyperbilirubinemia (jaundice). The significance of this phenomenon is that bilirubin can cross blood-brain barrier have neurotoxic effects - death or long-term neurologic sequelae.

EXTERNAL LINKS Good external link (with an adult focus) [[1] (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003243.htm)]

Good extenal link on neonates but quite technical [[2] (http://www.cs.nsw.gov.au/rpa/neonatal/html/newprot/jaund2.htm)]

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