The Indian Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 86, Issue 1, pp 32–37 | Cite as

Comparison of Diagnostic Accuracy of Different Sites for Transcutaneous Bilirubin Measurement in Early Preterm Infants

  • Garima AgrawalEmail author
  • Kapil Garg
  • Sadasivan Sitaraman
  • Anurag Sarna
Original Article



To evaluate correlation of transcutaneous bilirubin (TcB) measured at different body sites with serum total bilirubin (TSB) in early preterm infants.


This hospital based prospective comparative study was carried out in the Department of Pediatrics, SMS Medical College, Jaipur between April 2015 to March 2016. Early preterm infants with gestational age ≤ 34 weeks in whom clinical jaundice was significant mandating TSB measurement were included in the study. Study subjects who met the inclusion criteria were chosen consecutively. Neonates in whom phototherapy was already initiated and those with poor perfusion (capillary refill time > 3 s) were excluded from the study. All the measurements were carried out within first postnatal week. Transcutaneous bilirubin was measured from three sites: forehead, sternum and interscapular region and within 15 min of TcB measurement, blood samples were taken and serum bilirubin level was calculated.


Correlation coefficients of transcutaneous bilirubin measured from forehead, sternum and interscapular sites were 0.82, 0.84 and 0.86 respectively. TcB measured from all the three sites correlated significantly with serum bilirubin (p < 0.001), but the correlation was best at interscapular site. Sensitivity, specificity and false negative rates were calculated with respect to starting phototherapy. Interscapular site had the highest sensitivity and lowest false negative rate (87.6 and 12.4% respectively) as compared to forehead (79.2 and 20.8% respectively) and sternum (87.1 and 12.9% respectively).


Transcutaneous bilirubin measurement is an acceptable method for identification of hyperbilirubinemia requiring treatment in early preterm newborns. The authors recommend interscapular region as a reliable site in infants of gestational age ≤34 wk for measuring transcutaneous bilirubin.


Neonatal jaundice Preterm Bilirubin measurement Transcutaneous bilirubinometer 



The authors acknowledge the contributions of their respective family members and hard working team of doctors and supporting staff of SMS Medical College and associated hospitals for supporting and encouraging them throughout in every possible way.

Authors’ Contributions

All authors have contributed in designing the study, developing the methodology, collecting the data, performing the analysis, and writing the manuscript. KG will act as guarantor for this paper.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest



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Copyright information

© Dr. K C Chaudhuri Foundation 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsSMS Medical CollegeJaipurIndia

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