The UK NSC recommendation on Kernicterus screening in newborns
Find general information about population health screening.
Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?
Universal newborn screening for Kernicterus is not recommended because:
• there is no clear evidence that screening would help to find babies at risk of developing kernicterus
• the test (bilirubin in the baby's bloodstream) is not a good predictor of whether the baby will develop kernicterus - so many would be treated unnecessarily
• current treatment options (phototherapy and exchange transfusion) can reduce bilirubin levels - but it is not known whether these are effective in preventing kernicterus
More about Kernicterus
Kernicterus is a complication of neonatal jaundice, leading to a form of brain damage that can cause death or long term effects including cerebral palsy and hearing loss. Premature babies are most at risk.
• Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services
The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.
Related documentsSummary and Consultation Responses for Newborn Kernicterus Screening (2012) (PDF document, 937KB, 11/12/12)
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