Jaundice causes a baby’s skin and whites of the eyes to turn yellow due to too much bilirubin, a yellow chemical found in hemoglobin (protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen).
As red blood cells break down through normal bodily processes, the body builds new cells to replace them. The liver then processes the old cells. If the liver can’t process the old cells quickly enough, it causes bilirubin buildup in the body and results in yellowish skin and eyes.
Jaundice is a fairly common condition in a baby’s first week of life and happens to many otherwise healthy newborns. However, it can be a sign of another problem, such as:
- Blockage of bile ducts (tube that carries bile from the liver and gallbladder through the pancreas and small intestine)
- Blood diseases
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Genetic syndromes
University of Miami Health System neonatology specialists provide expert treatment for newborns with jaundice. Our pediatric specialists work together to ensure your baby gets comprehensive care.
A blood test measures the levels of bilirubin in the blood, which helps your baby’s doctor determine whether your infant has jaundice.
Light Therapy (Phototherapy)
Your baby lies in a bassinet or incubator under special lighting that’s absorbed by their skin. The light alters the shape and structure of the bilirubin molecules so they can be passed out of the body through urine and stools.
Why Choose UHealth?
History of excellence in critical care for babies. Our neonatologists see patients at Holtz Children’s Hospital, which has one of the largest, longest established Level III neonatal intensive care units in the United States. Our neonatal program has been ranked among the best NICUs in the United States by U.S. News & World Report for the past several years. When you trust us to care for your baby, you can be confident that you are putting your child’s care in highly qualified, compassionate hands.
Recognized by our peers and patients for our excellence. Many of our pediatric doctors are recognized as America’s Top Doctors® by Castle Connolly — doctors who are nominated by their peers as being the very best in their communities. We have more Top Doctors than any other health system in South Florida. We’re affiliated with Holtz Children’s Hospital, one of the largest children’s hospitals in the southeastern United States. The hospital is ranked among the nation’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report in diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, and nephrology.
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