Neonatal jaundice, which is seen in 60 percent of term babies and 80 percent of preterm babies, can cause brain damage if not treated properly.
Although neonatal jaundice, which is seen in 60 percent of term babies and 80 percent of preterm babies, disappears spontaneously in 7 to 10 days without the need for any treatment, however, too much of the substance called “Bilirubin”, which causes jaundice, in the blood may cause brain damage in babies. Near East University Hospital Pediatrics Department Specialist Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zeynep Cerit made important statements about neonatal jaundice, which should be followed under the control of a doctor.
Stating that neonatal jaundice is caused by the accumulation of a substance called “bilirubin” in the blood, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zeynep Cerit states that jaundice, which occurs as a result of the increase in the blood level of this substance, which gives the skin a yellow color, occurs in 60 percent of term babies in 80 percent of preterm babies.
Stating that jaundice is classified in two separate groups as physiological and pathological jaundice, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Cerit said, “By considering the week of birth, how many days the baby is and the risks, the bilirubin level is evaluated and it is decided whether jaundice is pathological or not.” Assoc. Prof. Dr. Cerit stated that physiological jaundice begins on the 2nd to 4th days after birth and usually resolves spontaneously in 7-10 days without the need for any treatment. Pathological jaundice is a condition that should be taken much more seriously. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zeynep Cerit commented on pathological jaundice as follows: “Pathological jaundice is a condition that often appears immediately after birth and should be taken seriously. This type of jaundice can occur due to some infections in the womb, blood group incompatibility between mother and baby, drugs used by the mother or some congenital diseases of the baby.
Jaundice can cause brain damage
Stating that jaundice usually goes away on its own, but in some cases, bilirubin can reach high levels and cause brain damage, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zeynep Cerit emphasized that for this reason, early detection and follow-up of jaundice in newborn babies is very important. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zeynep Cerit also said that the blood-brain barrier is not yet completed in the first 10 days of life and therefore it is extremely important for newborns with jaundice to be followed up by a doctor. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Cerit warns, “If the level of jaundice rises and treatment is delayed, excessive bilirubin may accumulate in the brain and cause damage in brain (Kernicterus Disease)”.
“As bilirubin rises in the blood, the baby sleeps. The baby with jaundice does not want to suckle, he wants to sleep. In this case, as the excretion of bilirubin decreases due to the decrease in nutrition, the level rises even more and a vicious circle occurs,” saying Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zeynep Cerit stated that if the bilirubin level becomes too high and affects the brain, the baby may get worse from crying with a high voice to having convulsions and said, “In a baby with this condition, mental and motor developmental delay, hearing and vision problems often occur in the future.”