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Definition of Neonatal jaundice

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Neonatal jaundice: Yellowish staining of the skin and whites of the newborn's eyes (sclerae) by pigment of bile (bilirubin). In newborn babies a degree of jaundice is normal. It is due to the breakdown of red blood cells (which release bilirubin into the blood) and to the immaturity of the newborn's liver (which cannot effectively metabolize the bilirubin and prepare it for excretion into the urine). Normal neonatal jaundice typically appears between the 2nd and 5th days of life and clears with time.

Neonatal jaundice is also referred to as neonatal hyperbilirubinemia and physiologic jaundice of the newborn.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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