A Prospective Comparison of Transcutaneous and Serum Bilirubin Within Brief Time Intervals

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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening newborns ≥35 weeks’ gestation with total serum bilirubin (TSB) or transcutaneous bilirubin (TcB) to detect hyperbilirubinemia. Retrospective studies show TcB measurements strongly correlate with TSB; however, few prospective trials document this relationship. Furthermore, Dräger’s newest TcB instrument, JM-105, remains unstudied in the United States. We measure TcB on foreheads and sternums of newborns using JM-105 and Bilichek devices within 30 minutes of TSB measurement. We find best overall TcB/TSB correlation with JM-105 on the sternum (mean TcB-TSB difference: −0.21 ± 1.15 mg/dL). Correlations between paired measurements for TcB on the sternum using JM-105 were 0.93 for all TSB levels (n = 178), 0.82 for TSB > 10 (n = 19), 0.69 for TSB > 12 (n = 11), and 0.52 for TSB > 15 (n = 6). TcB accuracy via JM-105 on the sternum significantly differed among races (P < .001). For 5% of paired measurements, TcB with JM-105 on the sternum underestimated TSB by ≥2 mg/dL, and for <1% by ≥3 mg/dL.

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