Excessively high bilirubin and exchange transfusion in very low birth weight infants

Jacob Kuint*, Ayala Maayan-Metzger, Valentina Boyko, Liat Lerner-Geva, Brian Reichman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To evaluate the performance of exchange transfusion in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants with excessively high serum bilirubin levels. Methods: A population-based observational study using data collected by the Israel National VLBW Infant Database. The study sample comprised 13 499 infants. Two definitions of excessively high-peak bilirubin levels that might be considered as threshold levels for performance of exchange transfusion were used. First, a bilirubin level of ≥15 mg/dL for all infants (PSB-15), and second, incremental bilirubin levels ranging from 12 to 17 mg/dL according to gestational age (PSB-GA). Results: Four hundreds sixty-eight (3.5%) and 1035 infants (7.7%) infants in the PSB-15 and in the PSB-GA groups respectively had peak serum bilirubin levels above thresholds for exchange transfusion. Exchange transfusions were performed in 66 (14.1%) of these infants in the PSB-15 group and 91 (8.8%) in the PSB-GA group. Using logistic regression analysis, peak serum bilirubin was found as an independent factor for performing exchange transfusion. Conclusion: Exchange transfusion was performed in only 9-14% of VLBW infants with excessively high bilirubin levels. We speculate that this may be a result of an absence of definitive guidelines or the possible belief that the risks of exchange transfusion outweigh the potential risk of bilirubin-induced neurological injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-510
Number of pages5
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Bilirubin
  • Exchange transfusion
  • Very low birth weight infants


Dive into the research topics of 'Excessively high bilirubin and exchange transfusion in very low birth weight infants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this