Although it is generally believed that preterm infants are at greater risk for the development of bilirubin-associated brain damage than term infants, quantification of the magnitude of this risk has proven elusive, as has a consensus among experts on the level of total serum bilirubin at which therapy should be initiated. Two large randomized studies have been performed that shed some light on the risk hyperbilirubinemia poses for preterm neonates and both studies are reviewed. Additional study is needed to further clarify the risk posed by hyperbilirubinemia in premature neonates and to frame guidelines for phototherapy and exchange transfusion that are more evidence-based. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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