Problem of Neonatal Jaundice
Icterus of unknown origin in the neonatal period frequently presents a difficult problem in diagnosis. For this time of life the history, physical examination, and available laboratory techniques are often of limited value in supplying adequate information from which a correct etiologic diagnosis may be made.Early diagnosis is of importance so that proper definitive therapy may be instituted with the least possible delay. Thereby, in medical types of neonatal icterus unnecessary and harmful surgical exploration may be avoided, and in surgical types of neonatal icterus pathological sequelae may be limited by prompt operative intervention.
Differential Diagnosis of Neonatal Jaundice
Neonatal jaundice may be caused by a number of conditions, from benign to serious:1. Physiological jaundice of the newborn2. Hemolytic states (blood-group incompatibility, hereditary spherocytosis)3. Infection (sepsis, syphilis, toxoplasmosis, cytomegalic inclusion disease, leptospirosis)4. Metabolic disturbances (galactosemia, cretinism, familial nonhemolytic jaundice)5. Inspissated-bile