Objective The aim of this study was to evaluate whether transcutaneous bilirubinometry (TCB) would be a reliable screening technique for hyperbilirubinemia in preterm infants, especially those who need mechanical ventilation.
Methods TCB measurements were obtained immediately before or within 10 minutes following routine blood sampling for plasma bilirubin concentration measurements in 63 premature infants not receiving phototherapy. The relationship between the two techniques was analysed by linear regression analysis. Gestational age, birth weight, postnatal age, sex and haematocrit were also studied to clarify their influence on TCB accuracy.
Results Overall bilirubin concentration ranged from 5.4 to 17 mg/dl and from 4.8 to 17.3 mg/dl for serum bilirubin and transcutaneous bilirubin, respectively. Mean values obtained by TCB were slightly higher than serum bilirubin values. The correlation coefficient between serum bilirubin and TCB was r = 0.82, p<0.001 and this was not affected by gestational age, postnatal age and haematocrit, which were previously supposed to be important. The correlation coefficient between serum bilirubin and TCB in mechanically ventilated preterm infants was r = 0.75, p<0.001.
Conclusion Serum bilirubin can be accurately measured by BiliCheck in premature newborns. Even in newborns who need mechanical ventilation.
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