Acute bilirubin encephalopathy (ABE) remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world, especially in low-middle-income countries where it can account for up to 15% of neonatal death. The pathophysiology of this acute life-threatening event of infancy and its potential evolution to kernicterus remain poorly understood. In this review, we start by reviewing the terminology of hyperbilirubinemia and its clinical consequences, ABE and later kernicterus spectrum disorder (KSD). We then review the pathogenesis of ABE and discuss clinical factors that can contribute to its pathogenicity. We examine in detail the clinical correlates of ABE and KSD. We present a comprehensive approach to its diagnosis and conclude with a set of simple clinical interventions ranging between primary preventive and rehabilitative measures that may help reduce the incidence of this largely preventable disease.
Research and Reports in Neonatology
acute bilirubin encephalopathy, neonatal jaundice, kernicterus, kernicterus spectrum disorder, low-middle-income countries
Usman, F., Diala, U. M., Shapiro, S., LePichon, J., Slusher, T. M. Acute bilirubin encephalopathy and its progression to kernicterus: current perspectives Research and Reports in Neonatology 8, 33-44 (2018).