Dai J, Krahn J, Parry DM
Clinical impact of transcutaneous bilirubinometry as an adjunctive screen for hyperbilirubinemia
Clin Biochem 29 (6): 581-586, Dec 1996

OBJECTIVE: To determine what the clinical impact would be of implementing a jaundice meter for use in a busy neonatal service as an adjunctive screening tool for hyperbilirubinemia.
DESIGN AND METHODS: Test utilization data was collected for a 6-month period to determine how neonatal bilirubin was utilized in this hospital. The jaundice meter was evaluated in a study population of healthy term infants. The performance characteristics of the meter and the test utilization data were used to predict the clinical impact a meter could have on screening for hyperbilirubinemia.
RESULTS: Utilization data indicated that about 60% of all single bilirubin neonatal testing (i.e., bilirubin only ordered) was done by normal nurseries. A jaundice meter cutoff decision reading of 17 was shown to have a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 68% for hyperbilirubinemia (> 260 mumol/L) in a study population of healthy term infants. From this data, it was estimated that use of a jaundice meter could eliminate 43% of the single (i.e., not combined with other tests) bilirubin tests done on healthy term neonates with no prior exposure to phototherapy. This constitutes an overall 20% reduction in bilirubin testing in normal nurseries when testing done on babies exposed to phototherapy and combined bilirubin testing are taken into consideration. Additionally, it was shown that there would be an improvement of 9% in the prediction of hyperbilirubinemia without loss of 100% sensitivity.
CONCLUSION: Use of a jaundice meter in normal nurseries as an adjunctive screening tool enhances patient care by reducing the overall blood procurement rate in normal nurseries by 20% and increasing screening efficiency for significant hyperbilirubinemia by 5%.

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