Citation: Weustink AC, Mollet NR, Neefjes LA, et al. Diagnostic accuracy and clinical utility of noninvasive testing for coronary artery disease. Ann Intern Med. 2010;152(10):630-639. TH
PEDIATRIC HM LITerature
Neonatal Nonhemolytic Hyperbilirubinemia Not Associated with Long-Term Cognitive or Neuropsychiatric Disability
Reviewed by Pediatric Editor Mark Shen, MD, medical director of hospital medicine at Dell Children’s Medical Center, Austin, Texas.
Clinical question: Is exposure to neonatal nonhemolytic hyperbilirubinemia associated with negative long-term cognitive effects?
Background: Guidelines for the treatment of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia focus on the prevention of rare but potentially devastating consequences: bilirubin encephalopathy and subsequent kernicterus. Small studies have raised concerns regarding the potential for long-term cognitive disability in infants exposed to severe hyperbilirubinemia without kernicterus. This association primarily has been noted in patients with severe hemolytic hyperbilirubinemia; the relationship in nonhemolytic cases is less clear.
Study design: Retrospective, population-based cohort study.
Setting: Fifth Military Conscription District of Denmark.
Synopsis: All 18-year-old male conscripts born from 1977 to 1983 had data extracted from a national discharge registry with respect to maximum total serum bilirubin (TSB-max) and other clinical details. Infants born <35 weeks or of multiple gestation, age >14 days at TSB-max, or with hemolytic disease were excluded. TSB-max was analyzed as a categorical and dichotomous variable. Data were then compared to a validated Danish intelligence test administered at military draft conscription and the presence of neuropsychiatric diagnoses.
Of those examined, 463 men exceeded the cutoff for TSB-max, compared with 12,718 controls. There were no significant differences between groups with respect to the presence of neuropsychiatric diagnoses or cognitive performance.
This study benefits from its population-based design and use of an inclusive national database. However, cognitive performance is notoriously difficult to study, owing to the numerous potential confounders, many of which could not be ascertained retrospectively from the registry. Additional limitations were that the Danish thresholds for phototherapy and exchange transfusion were 240 μmol/L and 340 μmol/L (or approximately 14 mg/dL and 20 mg/dL), respectively, and only 25 newborns were exposed to levels greater than 340 μmol/L.
Although no dose response association was noted between 240 μmol/L and 340 μmol/L, no conclusions may be drawn regarding significantly higher levels.
Bottom line: Neonatal nonhemolytic hyperbilirubinemia requiring phototherapy is unlikely to be associated with long-term cognitive or neuropsychiatric disability.
Citation: Ebbesen F, Ehrenstein V, Traeger M, Nielsen GL. Neonatal non-hemolytic hyperbilirubinemia: a prevalence study of adult neuropsychiatric disability and cognitive function in 463 male Danish conscripts. Arch Dis Child. 2010;95(8):583-587.