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Haemolytic and non-haemolytic neonatal jaundice have different risk factor profiles.

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Published:13th May 2016
Author: Lee BK, Le Ray I, Sun JY, Wikman A, Reilly M, Johansson S.
Ref.:Acta Paediatr. 2016 May 13.
DOI: 10.1111/apa.13470.


This study examined maternal and pregnancy risk factors for haemolytic and non-haemolytic neonatal jaundice in a large population-based cohort study.


We conducted a cohort study of 1,019,220 singleton live births from the Swedish medical birth register from 1987-2002, using information on neonatal jaundice and maternal and pregnancy characteristics. Diagnoses of gestational hypertensive disorders were obtained by linkage to the national inpatient register. Multivariate logistic regression analysis provided odds ratios for the risk factors of both forms of jaundice .


A total of 6,057 (0.6%) births were affected by haemolytic jaundice and 36,869 (3.6%) by non-haemolytic jaundice. The strongest risk factors for haemolytic jaundice were maternal alloimmunisation, blood group O and neonatal jaundice in older siblings. For non-haemolytic jaundice, the strongest risk factors were preterm birth, neonatal jaundice in older siblings, maternal origin from East or Southeast Asia and maternal obesity. We estimated that 13% of haemolytic jaundice was attributable to alloimmunisation and 39% of non-haemolyticjaundice was attributable to preterm birth.


Haemolytic and non-haemolytic neonatal jaundice had different risk factor profiles. Interventions to reduce maternal alloimmunisation, preterm birth and maternal obesity may lower the prevalence of neonatal jaundice and the risk of consequent neurological complications. 

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