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Jaundice Not Linked to Big Increase in First-Year Visits

Last Updated: March 18, 2010.

Infants with jaundice -- whether or not they use inpatient phototherapy -- have only a small increase in first-year outpatient visits, suggesting that these factors play only a little role in so-called "vulnerable child syndrome," according to research published online March 15 in Pediatrics.

THURSDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- Infants with jaundice -- whether or not they use inpatient phototherapy -- have only a small increase in first-year outpatient visits, suggesting that these factors play only a little role in so-called "vulnerable child syndrome," according to research published online March 15 in Pediatrics.

Danielle Usatin, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues analyzed data from nearly 137,000 infants. The researchers assessed outpatient visits from 15 to 364 days of age in three groups: infants who didn't have a documented total serum bilirubin (TSB) level of at least 12 mg/dL; and those with a TSB level of at least 17 but less than 23 at 2 to 7 days of age who either did not or did receive inpatient phototherapy.

Compared to the first group, the researchers found that visit rates were only slightly increased in the second and third groups (adjusted incidence rate ratios, 1.04 and 1.07, respectively). This corresponds to an increase of 0.36 visits in the group with higher TSB levels who didn't receive phototherapy, and 0.73 visits in the group with higher TSB levels who did receive phototherapy.

"Although clinicians should remain sensitive to the possibility of the vulnerable child syndrome to avoid overly alarming parents of infants with jaundice, [these findings] suggest that concern about the development of vulnerable child syndrome should not discourage close follow-up or use of phototherapy for infants with [jaundice] when it is indicated," the authors conclude.

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