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July 1971

Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency and Hyperbilirubinemia in the Newborn

Am J Dis Child. 1971;122(1):66-70. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1971.02110010102020

In four cases of newborns with hyperbilirubinemia and no blood group incompatibilities between mother and infant, neither mothers nor infants had previously received drugs associated with hemolytic anemia. Investigations of the infants and their families revealed that the infants had glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PD) deficiency in the red blood cells (RBC). Prematurity, acidosis, hypoxia, and factors normally associated with the newborn in addition to the inability of the RBC deficient in G-6-PD to metabolize hydrogen peroxide may cause acute hemolytic episode in these infants even in the absence of drug ingestion or infection. Infants, especially those from ethnic groups known to have a high incidence of G-6-PD deficiency, with hyperbilirubinemia and no evidence of blood group incompatibilities should be screened for G-6-PD deficiency.