Neonatal Jaundice is common and is usually a benign condition in the newborn affecting 50% of term infants and 80% of preterm infants in first week of life.
The yellow colour usually results from the accumulation of unconjugated, nonpolar, lipid soluble bilirubin pigment in the skin. Jaundice usually becomes apparent in a head to toe progression, starting on the face and progressing to the abdomen and then the feet, as jaundice levels increase.
The physiological jaundice in term infants becomes visible on the 2nd or 3rd day, usually peaking between the 2nd and 4th days and decreasing between the 5th and 7th days after birth. In premature infant visible on day 3-4, peaks on day 6-8 and starts disappearing by day 7-9.
The factors related to higher susceptibility for physiological jaundice are high haemoglobin concentration, immaturity of liver uptake, abnormal mechanism of bilirubin breakdown, shorter life span of RBC.
Hyperbilirubinemia- can be caused by certain pathologic conditions or by exaggeration of the mechanisms responsible for neonatal jaundice.
The jaundice presents with in 1st 24 hours after birth is a medical emergency.