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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Jaundice: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Digestive System


Alternate Names : Icterus

Jaundice | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the condition?

Most cases of jaundice in a newborn do not need treatment. If newborn babies develop severe jaundice, they may be put under special lights that cause a chemical change in bilirubin. This change allows the bilirubin to be excreted by the body. For extremely high levels of bilirubin, babies may need special blood transfusions that trade normal blood for their high-bilirubin blood. Treatment for other types of jaundice depends on the cause. Medications, such as antibiotics, or surgery may be needed in some cases.

What are the side effects of the treatments?

The lights used to treat babies with jaundice may cause diarrhea, rash, overheating, and dehydration. If a transfusion is needed, infection may occur. All medications have potential side effects. These may include allergic reactions, stomach upset, and others. Specific side effects depend on the drugs used. Surgery carries a risk of bleeding, infection, and reactions to the pain medicines used.

What happens after treatment for the condition?

This depends on the underlying cause. The underlying cause may be treated or resolve on its own, causing the jaundice to go away. In this setting, no further treatment may be required and people can usually return to normal activities. In other cases, the underlying condition cannot be fixed. This is common with severe, permanent liver damage or cancer. In this case, treatment does not usually end.

How is the condition monitored?

This also depends on the underlying cause. Both the affected person and the healthcare provider can monitor the jaundice itself. Repeated blood tests can monitor the bilirubin level, liver function, and other factors. More specific monitoring depends on the underlying cause.

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Jaundice: Prevention & Expectations


Author: James Broomfield, MD
Reviewer: Adam Brochert, MD
Date Reviewed: 07/27/01

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