How to use: transcutaneous bilirubinometry

Arch Dis Child Educ Pract Ed. 2013 Aug;98(4):154-9. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2012-302384. Epub 2013 May 9.


The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence neonatal jaundice guidelines recommend checking the bilirubin level in all infants with visible jaundice. The gold standard for this measurement is total serum bilirubin (TSB). Transcutaneous bilirubinometry (TcB) is an alternative to TSB that has been validated for clinical use through extensive study. TcB provides many advantages over TSB including instantaneous measurements without requiring a painful lab draw. For infants >35 weeks gestation, TcB can reliably identify infants at risk for severe hyperbilirubinaemia and can decrease the number of TSB measurements obtained. However, paediatric providers should be aware of limitations in clinical use of TcB including decreasing accuracy at higher bilirubin levels, lack of independently validated nomograms for interpretation and limited research regarding its use during phototherapy.

Keywords: Jaundice; Paediatric Practice.

MeSH terms

  • Bilirubin / blood
  • Humans
  • Hyperbilirubinemia, Neonatal / blood
  • Hyperbilirubinemia, Neonatal / diagnosis*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Screening / instrumentation*
  • Neonatal Screening / standards*
  • Neonatology / instrumentation*
  • Pediatrics / instrumentation*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Bilirubin