Serum Bilirubin Levels in Full-Term and Premature Macaca nemestrina

  • T. M. Burbacher
  • G. P. Sackett
Part of the Advances in Primatology book series (AIPR)


Neonatal jaundice is one of the most common problems among human neonates. It is estimated that 25–50% of all normal newborn infants exhibit clinical jaundice during the first week of life (Maisels, 1975). The large majority of these infants demonstrate what is called “physiological jaundice” with bilirubin concentrations reaching 5–7 mg/100 ml. Others, including the majority of premature infants, show a prolonged elevation in bilirubin concentrations (hyperbilirubinemia) with serum bilirubin levels reaching well over 20 mg/100 ml. The association between prolonged elevations in serum bilirubin levels and the occurrence of kernicterus is well documented (Hsia, Allen, Gellis, and Diamond, 1952; Perlstein, 1960). However, it is still unclear what level of bilirubin constitutes a potential risk for developing neurological or behavioral abnormalities owing to bilirubin intoxication. Several studies have found a positive relation between small increases in bilirubin concentrations and subsequent neurological and behavioral impairments (O’Dell, Storey, and Rosenberg, 1970; Hardy and Peeples, 1971). According to one study, this relation becomes critical at a concentration of 16–19 mg/100 ml (Boggs, Hardy, and Fraiser, 1967). That the potential for behavioral deficits due to bilirubin intoxication increases on a continuum with increases in bilirubin concentrations must be further considered and investigated. Factors relating to increased susceptibility to neurological or behavioral abnormalities at relatively low concentrations of bilirubin (prematurity, Hyaline Membrane Disease) must also be elucidated.


Premature Infant Serum Bilirubin Serum Bilirubin Level Bilirubin Concentration Serum Albumin Concentration 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. M. Burbacher
    • 1
    • 2
  • G. P. Sackett
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRegional Primate Research CenterUSA
  2. 2.Child Development and Mental Retardation CenterUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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