BACKGROUND: Transcutaneous bilirubinometry is widely used to predict hyperbilirubinemia by using several devices. The aim of this study was to compare the predictive ability of BiliCheck vs JM-103 in identifying neonates not at risk of significant hyperbilirubinemia, putting the data obtained with the two instruments on our transcutaneous bilirubin nomogram built with the BiliCheck.
METHODS: Transcutaneous bilirubin (TcB) measurement was performed when jaundice appeared in newborn babies and/or just before discharge from the hospital. It was performed at the forehead with the two instruments within 5 minutes by two experienced neonatologists, each one blind to the value obtained by the other. Blood samples were drawn to obtain total serum bilirubin (TSB) levels soon after TcB measurements.
RESULTS: A total of 627 paired-sample measurements were obtained from 298 newborn babies. Out of the total population studied, 16 newborn babies (5.4%) showed significant hyperbilirubinemia defined as TSB value >17 mg/dL, or as need for phototherapy treatment according to the AAP guidelines. TcB measurements showed false negative results in the first 60 hours of life using both devices. After the 60th hour of life, TcB measurements using both devices successfully predicted newborn babies not at risk of significant hyperbilirubinemia, being the JM-103 more reliable than BC because of fewer false positive results.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows that both BC and JM-103 can exclude subsequent significant hyperbilirubinemia when the measurements are performed after the 60th hour of life. Nevertheless, the transcutaneous pre-discharge screening should be considered only as the first step, and it has to be followed by a follow-up through the first days after discharge.
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