Objective: We assessed the relative contributions of increased bilirubin production (indexed by end-tidal carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations, corrected for ambient CO (ETCOc)) to hour-specific total bilirubin (TB) levels in healthy late preterm and term newborns.
Study design: Post hoc analyses of concurrent ETCOc and TB (at 30±6 h of age) and follow-up TB levels at age 96±12 h and up to 168 h after birth were performed in a cohort of 641 term and late preterm infants.
Results: Increased bilirubin production (hour-specific ETCOc ⩾1.7 p.p.m. at age 30±6 h) was noted in ~80%, 42% and 32% of infants in the high-, intermediate- and low-risk TB zones, respectively. One infant with TB <40th percentile and ETCOc <1.7 p.p.m. developed TB ⩾95th percentile at age 168 h, probably due to decreased bilirubin elimination.
Conclusions: Infants in the high-risk quartile of the hour-specific bilirubin nomogram have a higher mean bilirubin production. Infants with TB levels ⩾95th percentile without increased bilirubin production have impaired bilirubin elimination.