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A rare neurologic disorder occurring in infants with jaundice. It results from brain damage by existing high levels of unconjugated-indirect bilirubin.

Symptoms of Kernicterus

The following features are indicative of Kernicterus:
  • extreme jaundice
  • poor feeding or sucking
  • extreme sleepiness
  • low muscle tone
  • seizures
  • high-pitched cry
  • fever

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Common Causes of Kernicterus

The following are the most common causes of Kernicterus:
  • increased bilirubin levels
  • damaged liver
  • infections of the liver from virus
  • exposure to poisons
  • gallbladder disorders
  • anaemia

Risk Factors for Kernicterus

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Kernicterus:
  • premature birth
  • polycythemia
  • Gilbert's syndrome
  • G6PD deficiency
  • bruising
  • premature birth

Prevention of Kernicterus

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Kernicterus. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • adequate feeding

Occurrence of Kernicterus

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Kernicterus cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Kernicterus can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Kernicterus can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Kernicterus

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Kernicterus:
  • Jaundice bilirubin test: To diagnose the jaundice and determine the increased level of bilirubin in the blood
  • Liver panel test: To detect the liver damage

Doctor for Diagnosis of Kernicterus

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Kernicterus:
  • Psychiatrist
  • Neurologist
  • Pediatrician

Complications of Kernicterus if untreated

Yes, Kernicterus causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Kernicterus is left untreated:
  • permanent brain damage
  • hearing loss
  • fetal death

Procedures for Treatment of Kernicterus

The following procedures are used to treat Kernicterus:
  • Deep brain stimulation: Implants a battery-operated medical device in the brain to deliver electrical stimulation

Time for Treatment of Kernicterus

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Kernicterus to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Kernicterus.

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