Suckling RJ; Laing IA; Kirk JM
Transcutaneous bilirubinometry as a screening tool for neonatal jaundice
Scott Med J, 1995 Feb, 40:1, 14-5
Between 25 and 50% of all term newborns develop clinical jaundice, and a serum bilirubin level above 260 microml/l (15 mg/dl) is found in 3% of normal term infants. In the United Kingdom many newborn infants with clinical jaundice have blood samples sent to biochemistry laboratories for assessment of the plasma bilirubin concentration. We planned to assess the cost in terms of finance, medical staff time, numbers of blood samples, and family delay in leaving hospital. We demonstrated that reflectance bilirubinometry is a reliable screening method for identifying which caucasian infants require to have plasma bilirubin concentrations measured in the laboratory. The Minolta Airshields transcutaneous bilirubinometer provided reproducible data, saved time and costs, and often spared infants a capillary or venous blood sample. The transcutaneous bilirubinometer provides a digital assessment of skin pigmentation by xenon reflectance. It has previously been shown to be possible to derive an estimate of plasma bilirubin from the number displayed by the meter and it is suggested as a method for identifying which infants need plasma bilirubin estimations.