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 A condition in which bilirubin levels are high in the blood and crosses blood brain barrier in babies [1]. It is also known as nuclear jaundice. 



Bilirubin is a naturally occurring substance in the body of humans and many other animals, but it is neurotoxic when its concentration in the blood is too high.

Kernicterus risk factors [2]

1- Were born prematurely. When babies are born before 37 weeks, their livers are even less well developed and will take longer to effectively remove bilirubin.

2- Don’t feed well. Bilirubin is removed in stool. Poor feeding prevents babies from making enough dirty diapers.

3- Have a parent or sibling who had jaundice as an infant. This condition can run in families. It may be linked to certain inherited disorders, such as G6PD deficiency, which causes red blood cells to break down too early.

4- Were born to a mother with type O or Rh-negative blood type. Moms with these blood types sometimes give birth to babies who have high bilirubin levels.

Causes, Sign and Symptoms

Kernicterus is caused by severe jaundice that isn’t treated. Jaundice is a common problem in newborns. It happens because a newborn’s liver can’t process bilirubin quickly enough. Bilirubin builds up in the baby’s bloodstream as a result.


  1. Article title: Kernicterus & Jaundice | Trusted Birth Injury AttorneysfckLRWebsite title: Michigan Birth Injury & HIE AttorneysfckLRURL:
  2. Article title: Kernicterus - Assignment PointfckLRWebsite title: Assignment PointfckLRURL:

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