Magnetic resonance imaging in three children with kernicterus

Pediatr Neurol. 2001 Oct;25(4):328-31. doi: 10.1016/s0887-8994(01)00306-x.


The incidence of kernicterus has been greatly reduced by effective monitoring and treatment for hyperbilirubinemia. Findings on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with kernicterus are characteristic. This study presents three cases of possible kernicterus without typical symptoms but with MRI features consistent with kernicterus. These cases suggest that kernicterus can develop, especially in preterm infants, in the presence of relatively low levels of bilirubin and the absence of obvious acute symptoms. Therefore assessing the risk of kernicterus may be difficult in the neonatal period. In addition, MRI findings at the posteromedial border of the globus pallidus in patients with athetotic cerebral palsy are strong evidence of brain damage caused by kernicterus.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology
  • Cerebral Palsy / etiology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Globus Pallidus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperbilirubinemia / diagnosis
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kernicterus / complications
  • Kernicterus / diagnosis*
  • Kernicterus / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male