Year : 2018  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 128-134

Determinants of delay in presentation and clinico-laboratory features of newborns admitted for neonatal jaundice in a tertiary hospital in south-east Nigeria

1 Department of Pediatrics, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu State, Nigeria
2 Child Survival Unit, Medical Research Council UK, The Gambia Unit, Fajara, The Gambia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Chidiebere D I Osuorah
Child Survival Unit, Medical Research Council UK, The Gambia Unit, Fajara
The Gambia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jomt.jomt_21_18

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Background: Neonatal jaundice (NNJ) is one of the most common causes of hospital visit in the first 30 days of life. It is one of nine danger signs of neonatal illness recognized by the World Health Organization. Understanding its clinical and laboratory features will enhance early diagnosis and management to forestall associated morbidities. This study explored the clinical and laboratory features of newborns admitted for NNJ in a tertiary hospital in the south-eastern Nigeria. Methods: It is a descriptive study carried out prospectively over a 18-month period on all newborns admitted for jaundice at the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital. Patients were enrolled consecutively at presentation and relevant clinical and laboratory features in these newborns were documented in a structured admission register designed for this study. These data were subsequently transferred to Microsoft Excel and analyzed with SPSS version 20. Results: A total of 83 (17.0%) out of 487 newborns were admitted for NNJ during the study period. More female newborns (P = 0.321), newborns delivered outside Enugu State University Teaching Hospital (P = 0.09), mothers ≤ 30 years (P = 0.648), and mothers with lower educational attainment (P = 0.502) had delayed presentation to hospital. Poor suckling (42%), fever (38%), and depressed primitive reflexes (38%) were the most common clinical features seen in admitted newborns. Yellowish discoloration of newborns was noticed within the first 24 h of life in only 13%, between 2 and 7 days in 81%, and after the seventh day of life in 6% of newborns. The median (interquartile range, IQR) of the age jaundice was first noticed and when infant was brought to the hospital for evaluation was 3.0 days (IQR 2–5) and 5.0 days (IQR 4–7), respectively. This resulted to a mean onset–presentation delay time of 2.8 ± 2.3 days (∼67.2 h). The mean total serum bilirubin and unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia was 307 ± 145.2 and 257.5 ± 127.6 μmol/L, respectively. Malaria parasite (17%), glucose-6-phosphate deficiency (5%), and ABO incompatibility was seen in 8% of newborns surveyed. Conclusions: NNJ remains a common health problem in our setting. This underscores the need to upscale education of the mothers and caregivers especially those that prefer to deliver outside a tertiary health institution on the need for early presentation in newborns with jaundice associated with poor suckling and reduced activities.

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