Tips to Treasure: Physiological Verses Pathological Jaundice in the Newborn

Jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia) occurs in most newborn infants, and is mostly benign (physiological), but may be hemolytic (pathological).

  • Physiological Jaundice: Jaundice attributable to physiological immaturity
    - Appears between 24 – 72 hours of age
    - Peaks by day 4-5 (Term infants)
    - Disappears by two weeks of age

  • Pathological Jaundice: Abnormally high Bilirubin Levels that require medical intervention
    - Appears within the first 24 hours
    - Steady increase in bilirubin levels
    - Extends beyond the first two weeks of life