Treating Jaundice In Newborns
24th May, 2024

Bilirubin Jaundice Meter

What is bilirubin?
Bilirubin is a yellowish pigment that forms as a by product of the breakdown of red blood cells in the body. It’s produced in the liver and then excreted from the body in bile. Bilirubin is responsible for the yellow colour of bruises and the yellow discoloration of jaundice. Normally, it’s processed by the liver and eliminated from the body through the digestive system. However, if there’s an issue with the liver or the bile ducts, bilirubin can build up in the blood, leading to jaundice and other health problems.

How is bilirubin measured?

How is jaundice treated?
The treatment for jaundice depends on the underlying cause. In many cases, jaundice resolves on its own as the underlying condition improves. However, if the cause is more severe or requires intervention, various treatments may be recommended. Here are some common approaches:

Treating the underlying cause: If jaundice is a symptom of an underlying condition such as hepatitis, gallstones, or liver disease, treating that condition is the primary focus. This might involve medications, lifestyle changes, or other interventions.
Phototherapy: For newborns with jaundice (neonatal jaundice), phototherapy is often used. Special lights help break down bilirubin in the skin so that it can be excreted from the body more easily.
Blood transfusion: In severe cases of jaundice, particularly in newborns with high levels of bilirubin that pose a risk of brain damage (kernicterus), a blood transfusion may be necessary to replace the baby’s blood with fresh blood that has lower levels of bilirubin.
Medications: In certain cases, medications may be prescribed to help reduce bilirubin levels or to treat the underlying cause of jaundice. For example, if jaundice is caused by a blockage in the bile ducts, medications or procedures may be used to remove the blockage.
Liver transplant: In cases of severe liver disease or failure, where other treatments have been ineffective, a liver transplant may be considered as a last resort.


Baby undergoing phototherapy jaundice treatment.

Baby undergoing phototherapy jaundice treatment.


Treating Jaundice with Phototherapy

Phototherapy is a common treatment for jaundice, particularly in newborns. Jaundice occurs when there’s an excess of bilirubin in the blood, leading to a yellowing of the skin and eyes. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment produced during the normal breakdown of red blood cells.

Phototherapy involves exposing the baby’s skin to special fluorescent lights. These lights emit blue-green wavelengths that help break down the excess bilirubin in the skin. As the bilirubin absorbs the light, it undergoes a transformation that allows the body to excrete it more easily.

Here’s how phototherapy typically works:

Exposure to Light: The baby is undressed except for a diaper and placed under a special light or in a phototherapy crib. The lights are positioned close to the baby’s skin but at a safe distance to prevent overheating or discomfort.

Monitoring: During phototherapy, the baby’s bilirubin levels are closely monitored through blood tests or non-invasive devices that measure bilirubin levels in the skin.

Duration: The duration of phototherapy depends on the severity of jaundice and how well the baby responds to treatment. Some babies may only need a day or two of phototherapy, while others may require longer treatment.

Eye Protection: To protect the baby’s eyes from the bright lights, they may wear a mask or eye patches during phototherapy.

Feeding: Babies undergoing phototherapy should continue to breastfeed or formula-feed as usual. Adequate hydration helps the body eliminate bilirubin more effectively.

Skin Care: The baby’s skin may become dry during phototherapy. Applying gentle moisturizers can help prevent dryness and discomfort.

Phototherapy is generally considered safe and effective, with few side effects. However, prolonged exposure to the lights may increase the risk of skin damage or dehydration, so it’s important for healthcare providers to monitor the baby closely during treatment. It’s essential for individuals with jaundice to seek medical advice to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment plan. Untreated jaundice can lead to complications, so prompt diagnosis and management are crucial.


Did you know Niche Healthcare supplies Phototherapy equipment? Check it out below:

Phototherapy Eye Masks:

Phototherapy Diapers:

Phototherapy Machine:


For more information, contact us 01274 965089 or email

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