Signs of Severe Neonatal Jaundice
Jaundice is the appearance of yellow skin and/or eyes. Sudden urine change to a darker color is a possible sign of hemolysis that could be caused by G6PD deficiency.
Severe jaundice caused by G6PD deficiency may present itself with any of the following non-specific symptoms:
~ Jaundice below the abdomen
~ Lethargic, very sleepy
~ High-pitched cries
~ Loss of appetite
~ Change of normal muscle tone, too loose and/or too rigid
~ Arching back movements
~ Seizures, convulsions
A True Emergency
Severe jaundice caused by Hyperbilirubinemia can be extremely dangerous. Hyperbilirubinemia should not be taken lightly. Persistent high levels of bilirubin in the blood may cause progressive to permanent brain damage. Neonatal presentation with any of these abnormal signs is a cause for immediate concern and an urgent visit to a physician or emergency room. A simple blood test can confirm the baby’s bilirubin level, and will prompt immediate intervention if indicated.
- If a family history of G6PDd, neonatal jaundice, or hyperbilirubinemia is present, tell that to the doctor.
- If initial test results indicate hyperbilirubinemia, request that treatment begin immediately, even while waiting for retesting. The treatment, phototherapy, is non-invasive, does not harm to baby, can be terminated at any point, and may help avoid the need for a blood transfusion.
This document does not represent a comprehensive review of relevant information or recommendations included in the Clinical Practice Guideline released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Subcommittee of Pediatrics. It is only meant to be a quick summary/reference of useful points.