we will talk about jaundice in neonates in a medical preview
Jaundice is the most common condition
that requires medical attention in newborns.
The yellow coloration of the skin and sclera
in newborns with jaundice is the result of accumulation
of unconjugated bilirubin. In most infants, unconjugated
hyperbilirubinemia reflects a normal transitional
phenomenon. However, in some infants, serum
bilirubin levels may rise excessively, which can
be cause for concern because unconjugated bilirubin
is neurotoxic and can cause death in newborns
and lifelong neurologic sequelae in infants who
survive (kernicterus). For these reasons, the presence
of neonatal jaundice frequently results in diagnostic evaluation.
Neonatal jaundice may have first been described in a Chinese textbook 1000 years ago. Medical theses, essays, and textbooks from the 18th and 19th centuries contain discussions about the causes and treatment of neonatal jaundice. Several of these texts also describe a lethal course in infants who probably had Rh isoimmunization. In 1875, Orth first described yellow staining of the brain, in a pattern later referred to by Schmorl as kernicterus.