07 Jun 2019


Jaundice is an indication of high amount of bilirubin in the blood which makes white color of the eyes and skin turn yellow. Bilirubin is yellow-orange colored waste material found in blood. When liver is unable to filter it from RBCs, the level of bilirubin increases which causes this condition. Jaundice is common in newborn babies and gets cured within 2 weeks, although it is an indication of underlying infection or illness in case of older babies, children or adults.


  • High level of bilirubin in blood
  • Liver function failure
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Obstructed bile duct
  • Other infections like typhoid and malaria


  • Yellowish tinge in the skin and sclera (white portion of eyes)
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Pale stools and abdominal pain
  • Dark colored urine
  • High fever
  • Itching


An underlying cause can give rise to certain complications other than jaundice.
  • Skin rashes due to intense itching
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Acute Bilirubin Encephalopathy: Risk of increased bilirubin levels in the brain
  • Kernicterus: Brain damage in infants due to jaundice


Diagnosis is usually recommended to –

  • Physical examination
  • MRI, CT Scan, Ultra sound
  • Blood test includes Bilirubin test, Full Blood Count (FBC), Hepatitis A,B,C tests
  • Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): Procedure in which an endoscope is used to test and x-ray gallbladder, pancreatic and bile ducts.
  • Liver biopsy (in severe conditions)


Treatment is given according to underlying other conditions leading to jaundice such as:
  • Anemia-induced jaundice gets treated with iron supplementation or iron-rich food.
  • Hepatitis-induced jaundice requires steroids and antiviral medications.
  • Obstruction-induced jaundice can be treated with surgery.


  • Inflammation of liver or bile duct
  • Bile Duct Obstruction
  • Hemolytic Anemia
  • Cholestasis
  • Gilbert’s Syndrome


  • Eat healthy and balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Limit or avoid alcohol consumption


  • It is more commonly found in Asians or mixed-white Asian children more than white children.
  • The incidence has been found higher in people living at higher altitudes.
  • The occurrence of Jaundice is estimated to be around 40,000 per 100,000 ICU patients.

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