Diagnostic Usefulness of Transcutaneous Bilirubinometry in Very Preterm Newborns

Zohreh Badiee, Majid Mohammadizadeh, Masih Shamee


Background: This study was performed to find out whether
transcutaneous bilirubinometry could be a valid screening method for hyperbilirubinemia in preterm infants, especially for those who needed mechanical ventilation.
Methods: We evaluated 63 preterm Iranian newborns who were
managed in the neonatal intensive care unit of Shahidbeheshti
University Hospital, Isfahan, Iran from April 2009 to April 2010.
Transcutaneous bilirubin (TCB) measurements were obtained
using BiliCheckā„¢ shortly before or 10 minutes after taking blood
for determination of the plasma bilirubin level in premature
newborns, who did not receive phototherapy. We assessed the
correlation between the transcutaneous bilirubin and plasma
bilirubin level by linear regression analysis. We also analyzed the gestational age, birth weight, postnatal age, sex, and hematocrit, for determination of their effect on transcutaneous bilirubin accuracy.
Results: The overall bilirubin concentration ranged from 5.4 to
17 mg/dL and from 4.8 to 17.3 mg/dl for total serum bilirubin
(TSB) and transcutaneous bilirubin, respectively. The mean values obtained by transcutaneous bilirubinometry were slightly higher than the total TSB values. The correlation coefficient between TSB and TCB was r=0.82, P<0.001, and this was not influenced by gestational age, postnatal age or hematocrit, which were previously considered to be important. The correlation coefficient between TSB and TCB in mechanically ventilated preterm infants was r=0.75, P<0.001.
Conclusion: Plasma bilirubin level can be accurately measured by BiliCheckā„¢ in premature newborns, even in newborns who need mechanical ventilation.
Keywords: Neonatal jaundice, phototherapy, preterm newborn,
transcutaneous bilirubinometry

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