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Severe Neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia and Kernicterus: Are These Still Problems in the Third Millennium?Kaplan M.a, b · Bromiker R.a, b · Hammerman C.a, b
aDepartment of Neonatology, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and bFaculty of Medicine of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel Corresponding Author
Prof. Michael Kaplan
Department of Neonatology, Shaare Zedek Medical Center
PO Box 3235
Jerusalem 91031 (Israel)
Tel. +972 2 655 5643, E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite efforts to eliminate permanent and irreversible brain damage due to bilirubin encephalopathy and kernicterus, these conditions continue to accompany us into the third millennium. This phenomenon occurs not only in developing countries with emerging medical systems, but in Westernized countries as well. Comprehensive guidelines to detect newborns with jaundice and treat those in whom hyperbilirubinemia has already developed have been formulated in several countries, but have not been successful in completely eliminating the problem. In this appraisal of the situation we review selected aspects of bilirubin encephalopathy and/or kernicterus. We highlight recent reports of severe hyperbilirubinemia and kernicterus, discuss some of the factors responsible for the continuing appearance of these conditions, and briefly review what can be done to decrease bilirubin-related morbidity and mortality to the minimum.
© 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel