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Neonatal Jaundice

Neonatal Jaundice - Treatments

Moderate jaundice is treated by placing a baby naked (with a protective mask over the eyes) under a bright ultraviolet light source. This is called phototherapy and can be delivered safely in many different ways. The number of lights is proportional to the levels of bilirubin. 

The light breaks down the bilirubin in the skin and makes the jaundice fade. Unsupervised exposure to direct sunlight is not recommended, as it can be harmful causing sunburn. 

Occasionally, if jaundice is due to excessive breakdown of red cells (e.g. blood group incompatibility) and leads to  severe jaundice a baby may need to have a special blood transfusion in which the baby's blood is replaced (exchanged) with fresh blood to wash the bilirubin out of the system. A blood product ( Immunoglobulin) may also be infused to try and prevent the baby’s red cells from being coated with by maternal  proteins ( antigens) and  destroyed by a different group of cells in the baby’s blood ( macrophages), a process known as haemolysis.

Severe jaundice is a medical emergency and may lead to long term neurological complications form passage of bilirubin into the baby’s brain. Hence the need to manage with multiple phototherapy, immunoglobulin or exchange transfusion.

Neonatal Jaundice - Preparing for surgery

Neonatal Jaundice - Post-surgery care

Neonatal Jaundice - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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