Objective: The use of transcutaneous bilirubin (TcB) measurements has been studied extensively in the newborn population, but there have been few studies in outpatient populations and none from the offices of practicing pediatricians.
Study design: We performed TcB measurements on a mixed-race population of 120 jaundiced infants, ≥ 35 weeks of gestation, in two hospital-based outpatient clinics, a regional public health nurse follow-up program and two pediatric office practices. Three individual TcB readings were obtained from the mid-sternum, and the average and maximum values were recorded.
Result: There was good correlation between the TcB and total serum bilirubin (TSB) measurements (r=0.78, P=0.0). 59% of TSB's were ≥15 mg dl(-1) and, although the number of false-negative readings increased when the TSB values exceeded 15 mg dl(-1), it was nevertheless possible to use TcB measurements to accurately predict the risk of TSB levels ≥ 15 mg dl(-1).
Conclusion: In outpatient settings, a TcB measurement with the JM-103 provides a reliable screening method for the identification of hyperbilirubinemia even when the TSB level exceeds 15 mg dl(-1). Using the maximum of three independent measurements reduces the number of false negatives, but increases the number of false positives. The use of TcB measurements in an outpatient practice should be a valuable tool for the practitioner.