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Prematurity Problems: Hyperbilirubinemia & Jaundice


Bilirubin is produced when ageing, damaged, or abnormal red blood cells are removed from the circulation, and are broken down by the liver.
Hyperbilirubinemia , a high level of bilirubin in the blood, and Jaundice, the yellow skin colour due to high bilirubin blood levels, is common in premature infants , who do not have fully developed organs and, thus, their livers cannot process bilirubin rapidly. Hyperbilirubinemia may be due to an overproduction and/or underexcretion of bilirubin. Extremely high levels can be harmful, causing brain damage and treatment, if merited, usually involoves phototherapy (therapy with bilirubin lights).

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. University of Wisconsin and The Center For Perinatal Care at Meriter Hospital Madison, Wisconsin:

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Contact Last modified: Oct 21 2004