KERNICTERUS

Posted by e-Medical PPT Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Kernicterus is a form of brain damage caused by increased levels of unconjugated bilirubin.The blood-brain barriers are immature in newborns. So Bilirubin penetrates the brain and is deposited in cell bodies (gray matter), especially the basal ganglia, causing irreversible damage. Depending on the level of exposure, the effects range from unnoticeable to severe brain damage.This may be due to several underlying pathologic processes. Newborn babies are often polycythemic.When they break down the erythrocytes, one of the byproducts is bilirubin,and causes jaundice. Alternately, Rh incompatibility between mother and fetus may cause hemolysis of fetal red blood cells, thereby releasing unconjugated bilirubin into the fetal blood. Kernicterus may also be found in infants as a symptom of Crigler-Najjar syndrome type I, a hereditary hyperbilirubinemia that is fatal within 18 months of life.

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