Jaundice and kernicterus in the moderately preterm infant

Clin Perinatol. 2013 Dec;40(4):679-88. doi: 10.1016/j.clp.2013.07.007. Epub 2013 Sep 20.


Moderate preterm infants remain at increased risk for adverse outcomes, including acute bilirubin encephalopathy (ABE). Evidence-based guidelines for management of hyperbilirubinemia in preterm infants less than 35 weeks' gestational age are not yet optimized. High concentrations of unconjugated bilirubin can cause permanent posticteric neurologic sequelae (kernicterus). Clinical manifestations of ABE in preterm infants are similar to, but often more subtle than, those of term infants. This review outlines clinical strategies to operationalize management of hyperbilirubinemia in moderately preterm infants to meet recently published consensus-based recommendations.

Keywords: Bilirubin encephalopathy; Bilirubin-induced neurologic dysfunction; Hyperbilirubinemia; Jaundice; Kernicterus; Moderately preterm; Newborn jaundice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bilirubin / blood
  • Consensus
  • Humans
  • Hyperbilirubinemia, Neonatal / diagnosis
  • Hyperbilirubinemia, Neonatal / therapy*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / diagnosis
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / therapy*
  • Jaundice, Neonatal / diagnosis
  • Jaundice, Neonatal / therapy*
  • Kernicterus / diagnosis
  • Kernicterus / therapy*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Reference Values


  • Bilirubin