physiological jaundice

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physiological jaundice

Etymology: Gk, physis, nature, logos, science; Fr, jaune, yellow
a simple jaundice of newborns that involves the breaking down of the excessive number of red blood cells that may be present at birth.

neonatal jaundice

Yellowing of a newborn’s skin during the neonatal period, which is caused by an increased bilirubin level in the blood, due to immaturity of liver function plus destruction of red cells. Neonatal jaundice appears between days 2 and 5 and clears by 2 weeks, and is more common in premature infants.
Nonphysiologic, prolonged, or pathologic jaundice in newborn, biliary atresia, ABO and/or Rh incompatibility, galactosaemia, cephalhaematoma, polycythemia, G6PD deficiency, neonatal sepsis, congenital infection (CMV), toxoplasmosis, syphilis, herpes, rubella, late-pregnancy use of sulfa drugs by mother, Crigler-Najjar syndrome, hereditary spherocytosis, cystic fibrosis, breast-milk jaundice, pyruvate kinase deficiency, thalassaemia, Gilbert’s syndrome, congenital hypothyroidism, Lucey-Driscoll syndrome, Gaucher’s disease, Niemann-Pick disease.


yellowness of skin, sclerae, mucous membranes, and excretions due to hyperbilirubinemia and deposition of bile pigments. Called also icterus. It is usually first noticeable in the sclera.
The pigment causing jaundice is called bilirubin. It is derived from hemoglobin that is released when erythrocytes are hemolyzed and therefore is constantly being formed and introduced into the blood as worn-out or defective erythrocytes are destroyed by the body. Normally the liver cells absorb the bilirubin and secrete it along with other bile constituents. If the liver is diseased, or if the flow of bile is obstructed, or if destruction of erythrocytes is excessive, the bilirubin accumulates in the blood and eventually will produce jaundice. Determination of the level of bilirubin in the blood is of value in detecting elevated bilirubin levels at the earliest stages before jaundice appears, when liver disease or hemolytic anemia is suspected.
Enlarge picture
Jaundice in a horse's oral mucosa. By permission from Knottenbelt DC, Pascoe RR, Diseases and Disorders of the Horse, Saunders, 2003

acholuric jaundice
jaundice without bilirubinemia, associated with elevated unconjugated bilirubin that is not excreted by the kidney.
cholestatic jaundice
that resulting from abnormality of bile flow in the liver.
hematogenous jaundice
hemolytic jaundice.
hemolytic jaundice
jaundice associated with hemolytic anemia in which most of the bilirubin is unconjugated. Called also retention jaundice, prehepatic jaundice.
hemorrhagic jaundice
hepatocellular jaundice
jaundice caused by injury to or disease of the liver cells.
jaundice index
see icteric index.
nonhemolytic jaundice
that due to an abnormality in bilirubin metabolism.
obstructive jaundice
that due to blockage of the flow of bile, resulting in conjugated hyperbilirubinemia. Called also regurgitation jaundice.
physiological jaundice
mild icterus neonatorum during the first few days after birth.
regurgitation jaundice
obstructive jaundice (above).
toxic jaundice
see hepatocellular jaundice (above).
References in periodicals archive ?
76%) was more than physiological jaundice and is comparable to other studies like Singhal et al (1992) AIIMS (n=454).
Physiological jaundice is the term used arbitrarily to define that degree of jaundice which can be completely accounted for by the neonatal limitation in glucornide conjugation ability.
To find out the presence of physiological jaundice in neonatal period.
This is termed physiological jaundice and has cleared by two weeks of age in over 90% of babies.

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