Prague Med. Rep. 2014, 115, 33-42

A Comparison between Transcutaneous and Total Serum Bilirubin in Healthy-term Greek Neonates with Clinical Jaundice

Charalambos Neocleous*, Alkistis Adramerina, Stefanos Limnaios, Symeon Symeonidis, Chrysoula Spanou, Marina Malakozi, Evangelos Mpampalis

Department of Medical Pediatrics, General Hospital of Drama, Drama, Greece

The accuracy of transcutaneous bilirubin meters has been assessed in newborns from various ethnic backgrounds. However, there are limited data on Greek newborns. Our study examined the accuracy of transcutaneous bilirubin measurements in clinically jaundiced healthy-term Greek newborns, using total serum bilirubin as the reference standard, in order to re-evaluate our local guidelines about neonatal jaundice. Clinically jaundiced newborns requiring total serum bilirubin level estimation were recruited prospectively. 368 pairs of total serum bilirubin/transcutaneous bilirubin measurements were taken in 222 newborns, using a direct spectrophotometric device and the BiliCheck device, respectively. The level of agreement between the obtained transcutaneous bilirubin and total serum bilirubin values was assessed. Our data were analysed using the Stata/SE 12.0 (StataCorp LP, USA) statistical programme. The mean (± SD) TSB was 225.4 ± 25.4 μmol/l and the mean (± SD) TcB was 237.9 ± 21.0 μmol/l. The correlation between the values was poor (Pearson’s correlation coefficient 0.439; Lin’s concordance coefficient 0.377 [95% CI 0.301 to 0.453]; P<0.001). The Bland-Altman analysis demonstrated that transcutaneous bilirubin measurements tended to overestimate the total serum bilirubin value (mean difference 12.5 ± 24.9 μmol/l), with wide 95% limits of agreement (–36.2 μmol/l to 61.3 μmol/l). Transcutaneous bilirubin values did not correlate well with total serum bilirubin values, being often imprecise in predicting the actual total serum bilirubin levels. This permits us to continue estimating total serum bilirubin in clinically jaundiced newborns according to our local guidelines, in order to safely decide the appropriate care plan.


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