Children's Hospital Colorado

Neonatal Jaundice and Bilirubin Levels in Newborns (S1:E21)

Pediatric primary care providers (PCPs) who take care of newborns spend a lot of time thinking about infant jaundice and elevated bilirubin in infants. While neonatal jaundice is typically diagnosed based on the infant’s appearance, measuring the level of bilirubin in the baby's blood is also critical.

When assessing a potential case of infant jaundice, PCPs should also analyze the medical histories of both the mother and infant, beginning with a careful review of the baby's chart.

Listen to our pediatric experts discuss infant jaundice, including risk factors for neonatal jaundice

On this episode of Charting Pediatrics, Dave Scudamore, MD, joins us to talk about neonatal jaundice. We discuss some of the most common risk factors for neonatal jaundice, best practices for measuring elevated bilirubin in infants and other considerations.

Dr. Scudamore is the Director of Inpatient Medicine for the System of Care at Children's Hospital Colorado, and he is also an assistant professor of pediatrics in hospital medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

In this episode, our experts explore:

  • The major risk factors for severe infant jaundice that can cause complications with neonates
  • How to assess mom and baby for the risk factors of neonatal jaundice by reviewing patient history and birth data
  • Specific criteria PCPs should assess in the nursery, including bruising
  • Difference between the risk factors for elevated bilirubin levels in infants and the risk factors for neurotoxicity
  • Prematurity as a risk factor for neonatal jaundice
  • The significance of the ratio between albumin and bilirubin
  • Standard protocols for workups when measuring elevated bilirubin levels in infants
  • Best practices for continued monitoring of risk factors for neonatal jaundice
  • How PCPs can provide elevated care of jaundiced infants through a patient-centered care approach
  • Why considering the context of individual infant jaundice cases is so important
  • How to utilize the Bhutani curve to assess risk and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines to initiate phototherapy for jaundice treatment
  • How to manage cases of high-risk neonatal jaundice where the infant does not meet recommendations for phototherapy
  • The importance of lactation support for mothers
  • The importance of patient follow-ups in this pediatric population and their role in intervention

Treating neonatal jaundice at Children's Colorado

Babies with jaundice are first treated by the pediatric experts in the Primary Care department at Children's Colorado. Each primary care provider on our team is committed to offering compassionate and comprehensive care for babies and their families. Refer a patient to Children's Colorado.