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August 1948

MECHANISM OF HYPERBILIRUBINEMIA IN THE NEWBORN INFANT: Experimental Demonstration of Functional Hepatic Immaturity

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pathology and Pediatrics, Southwestern Medical College of the Southwestern Medical Foundation.

Am J Dis Child. 1948;76(2):196-202. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1948.02030030205007

IT HAS been demonstrated that although only approximately 50 per cent of newborn infants become detectably jaundiced, cord blood and neonatal blood serum will, with rare exception, show hyperbilirubinemia when examined by chemical methods. After birth the serum bilirubin level rises for a few days, followed by a slow progressive fall to normal. In a series of 106 infants studied by Davidson and associates,1 the median maximum serum bilirubin level was 5.7 mg. per hundred cubic centimeters, and only 2 infants from the group showed maximum levels of less than 1.0 mg. per hundred cubic centimeters. These workers demonstrated a high degree of correlation between the bilirubin level in the cord blood and the subsequent height and duration of hyperbilirubinemia in early postnatal life. They also showed a close association between the maximum level which the serum bilirubin attains and the duration of the hyperbilirubinemia. The fact that the

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