JOURNAL ARTICLE

Transcutaneous bilirubinometry is not influenced by term or skin color in neonates

Mickael Afanetti, Sergio Eleni Dit Trolli, Nadya Yousef, Ikram Jrad, Mostafa Mokhtari
Early Human Development 2014, 90 (8): 417-20
24951079

BACKGROUND: The utility of transcutaneous bilirubin measurements (TcB) in screening for hyperbilirubinemia in preterm infants (<34 weeks) and in non-white infants remains a matter of debate.

AIM: To evaluate accuracy of TcB in preterm and term infants of different ethnic backgrounds, using a second generation bilirubinometer.

STUDY DESIGN: The Draeger JM-103® device was used to measure TcB. Eighty five measurements of TcB and total serum bilirubin (TSB) were retrospectively compared. Neonates were stratified into groups according to gestational age: <34 weeks (group 1, n=44) and >34 weeks (group 2, n=41), and according to ethnic origin: Caucasians (group A, n=49) and non-Caucasians (group B, n=36). Statistical analysis, using Pearson's correlation coefficient (r) and Bland-Altman analysis were performed to evaluate correlation and agreement between TSB and TcB values. Multiple linear regression was used to control for confounders for TSB values.

RESULTS: Correlation between TSB and TcB was high. Pearson's correlation coefficients were over 0.9 in all groups (0.910, 0.908, 0.916 and 0.934, p<0.0001 in groups 1, 2, A, and B respectively). Bland-Altman plots showed acceptable and close limits of agreements (56.8/-57.7, 54.2/-67.2, 57.7/-55.8, and 51.3/-69.9μmol/L in groups 1, 2, A and B respectively) with a trend for TcB to overestimate TSB in groups 2 and B. Birth term and skin color were not identified as confounding factors for predicting TSB in multiple linear regression.

CONCLUSIONS: TcB measurements using the Draeger JM-103® device correlate significantly with TSB, regardless of term and skin color. Transcutaneous bilirubinometry seems to be a safe and cost-effective screening method for severe hyperbilirubinemia in newborns of different terms and ethnic origins.

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