What is kernicterus?
During the first days and months of a newborn’s life, he has to get used to the new conditions of life outside the mother’s body. At this time, parents need to take care and close attention for him. In the medical practice of pediatricians – doctors specializing in the physiology and pathology of childhood, often there are complaints of yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes in the baby, or, to put it bluntly, jaundice.
The most dangerous type of jaundice of newborns is kernicterus. It is characterized by the defeat of cells in the brain with the chemical substance bilirubin and can lead to serious disruption of the musculoskeletal system, neurological and other diseases, so therapy of this pathological condition should be carried out immediately.
Causes of kernicterus
The main causes of kernicterus of newborns may be unhealthy mother’s pregnancy or blood incompatibility and disruptions in the endocrine system. The lack or complete absence of enzymes necessary for excretion from the body of bilirubin is also one of the risk factors for the development of the disease.
In addition: prematurity of the baby; sepsis; incompatibility of the Rh factor of the infant and mother or differences in the blood group; violation of metabolic processes in the baby due to illness of the mother during the period of bearing the child, or treatment of the pregnant woman with prohibited preparations; intrauterine infection; blood diseases.
It is very important that the probability of developing a pathology in a premature baby is higher than that of a born in a timely manner, since the cells in the brain are not completely formed, which facilitates the penetration of bilirubin.
- Kernicterus can develop immediately, therefore, when any jaundice parents should immediately consult a doctor.
- It is impossible to overestimate the importance of rapid diagnosis of this disease in the first hours after the onset of the disease.
- This is the only chance to prevent the severe consequences of bilirubin intoxication. It is necessary to tell the doctor in detail about what kind of symptoms were alarmed when watching a child, how long they last, whether they can be associated with any particular cause.
- Such a survey is called gathering information useful for helping a baby. The main diagnostic criterion is the determination of the indicator of indirect bilirubin in the biochemical analysis of blood.
- Other methods, such as a general blood test, ultrasound of the abdominal organs will be required to assess additional risks and differentiation of kernicterus from jaundice of another etiology.
Treatment of kernicterus
Today, there are several methods for treating kernicterus. Usually they are used in a complex, which enhances their effectiveness and gives a faster result. The newborn can be prescribed: medicinal preparations, phototherapy, glucose treatment, blood transfusion, etc.
Kernicterus requires immediate treatment. The baby after recovery for some time is observed in the pediatrician and neurologist to monitor the possible consequences of pathology.