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Serum bilirubin test for new borns

Q: I would like to know about the serum bilirum test which is advised for new born babies. What are the values for it, what are the dangerous condition which can happen if the levels are high or low. At which stage the risk is more. Also what are the preventive action to be taken.

A:Jaundice and bilirubin are a cause of great anxiety for parents of newborn babies. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment and is one of the waste products in the body. It is excreted by the liver. If it is difficult to excrete bilirubin, the substance builds up in the blood and is recognised as jaundice where thebaby looks yellow. It is a cause for the concern in the newborn period because, if the serum bilirubin is very high, it can lead to brain damage. This was first recognised in babies with rhesus disease. The serum bilirubin is not normally above 30 micromol/l, but is over 350 micromol/l in cases where the brain damage has occurred, but in almost every case is much higher than 350. Various factors can increase the depth of jaundice, such as prematurity and bruising. The bilirubin can be measured very easily to monitor the jaundice. The jaundice can be treated with light therapy or sometimes by a blood transfusion.

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