National guidelines for treatment of jaundice in the newborn

Acta Paediatr. 2011 Apr;100(4):499-505. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.02104.x. Epub 2011 Jan 12.


Jaundice is the most common reason for instituting treatment in otherwise healthy as well as sick newborn infants. Herein, we describe the process employed in Norway to forge agreement on a set of treatment guidelines that are now used across the country. The Norwegian Pediatric Association was a key resource in this process, which involved contacts with all paediatric departments in Norway. We have also performed an international survey regarding the use of such national guidelines, showing that the majority of those queried confirm having national guidelines. The evidence base for any neonatal jaundice guideline is weak; therefore, it is not surprising that the various guidelines differ both in format and in specifics. In the Norwegian guidelines, treatment indications are based on bilirubin concentrations and related to birth weight. Postnatal age is also factored in because jaundice develops gradually during the first 3-4 days before it levels off.

Conclusion: Following the introduction of these guidelines, fewer babies in Norway receive phototherapy, and no cases of chronic kernicterus have been reported during this period.

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / blood
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / therapy*
  • Internationality
  • Jaundice, Neonatal / blood
  • Jaundice, Neonatal / therapy*
  • Norway
  • Phototherapy
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*