Severe neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, defined as total serum bilirubin (TSB) ≥20 mg/dl, is associated with a higher risk of permanent neurological sequelae and death. Jaundice can and should be promptly diagnosed and treated. Reliable methods for TSB assay are not always readily available, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, making the true incidence of severe neonatal jaundice (NNJ) difficult to estimate. To gather a more comprehensive picture, a symposium addressing NNJ worldwide was organized during the 2015 Don Ostrow Trieste Yellow Retreat. Data collected by several researchers in different regions of the world were presented and differences/similarities discussed. This report points out the need for: (1) a coordinated worldwide effort to define the burden and the causes of severe NNJ and its consequences; (2) aggressive educational programs for families and health personnel to facilitate timely care-seeking, and (3) accurate diagnostics and effective phototherapy.
- neonatal jaundice
- severe hyperbilirubinemia
- acute bilirubin encephalopathy
- low- and middle-income countries