BACKGROUND: Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia is a common medical emergency in early neonatal period. Unconjugated bilirubin is neurotoxic and can lead to lifelong neurological sequelae in survivors. OBJECTIVE:To find out the association between serum bilirubin and neurodevelopmental outcome at 1 year of age using Development Assessment Scale for Indian Infants (DASII).
METHODS: A prospective cohort study was conducted in the Department of Pediatrics of a tertiary care institution of Central India between January 2018 and August 2019. Total 108 term healthy neonates, with at least one serum bilirubin value of >15 mg/dl, were included. Subjects were divided into three groups based on the serum bilirubin; group 1: (15–20 mg/dl) –85(78.7%) cases, group 2: (20–25 mg/dl) –17(15.7%), and group 3: (>25 mg/dl) –6(5.5%). Developmental assessment was done using DASII at 3, 6, 9, 12 months of age.
RESULTS: Out of 108 cases, 101(93.5%) received phototherapy, and 7(6.5%) received double volume exchange transfusion. Severe delay was observed in 5(4.6%) and mild delay in 2(1.9%) cases in the motor domain of DASII at one year. Severe delay in the motor domain was associated with mean TSB of 27.940±2.89 mg/dl and mild delay with mean TSB of 22.75±1.76 mg/dl (p = 0.001). On cluster analysis, delay was observed in locomotion 1 score in 11(13%) cases (p = 0.003) and manipulation score in 6(7.1%) cases in group 1.
CONCLUSION: Increased serum bilirubin was a significant risk factor for the delayed neurodevelopment in babies with neonatal jaundice. Even a moderate level of bilirubin significantly affects the developmental outcome.