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Definition of Neonatal jaundice

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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.

Reviewed on 5/13/2016

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