HCR.20.081 – To be kernicterus-free: Towards a timely recognition of severely jaundiced infants.

Route: Health care research, sickness prevention and treatment

Cluster question: 104 How do we develop minimally invasive techniques and interventions for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment?

Every year many newborns are admitted to the hospital because of jaundice. This is caused by hyperbilirubinemia, i.e. elevated total serum bilirubin (TSB) levels. When severe, and left untreated, neurological damage occurs. Timely recognition of hyperbilirubinemia is thus essential since it can be effectively treated. The current approach of visual inspection to detect neonatal jaundice is ineffective. Novel technologies for timely recognition of relevant jaundice exist, i.e., transcutaneous bilirubin (TCB) devices and a smartphone-based application (Picterus App) that non-invasively measure TSB, and a point-of-care bilirubin device that measures bilirubin in one drop of blood. Apart from the App, TCB and Bilistick have been tested mainly in the hospital, but not in outpatient settings. In order to evaluate how favorable these tools may perform, we are about to start a ZonMw-funded prospective study (#543002011) in several community midwifery practices in two Dutch Regional Research Consortia (Pregnancy and Childbirth).
We would like to extend this study and learn Dutch parents how to use the App as well as parents in Surabaya, Indonesia, because the burden of jaundice is enormous there. We hypothesize that parental use of the Picterus App will improve timely recognition of neonates having hyperbilirubinemia necessitating treatment, while decreasing the need for heel pricks to quantify bilirubin in blood. Moreover, we hypothesize that treatment duration will be shorter when compared with visual inspection. We will also analyze user convenience as reported by parents and health care professionals.


jaundice, newborns, timely detection

Other organisations

Consortium Pregnancy and Childbirth Northern and SouthWest Netherlands, Department of General Practice & Elderly Medicine, Dept. of Pediatrics Medical Center Leeuwarden and Erasmus MC, Kraamzorg het Groene Kruis and Isis Kraamzorg, Norway, Picterus AS, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG), Rotterdam, Stichting Kind en Ziekenhuis., Trondheim, unit Midwifery science, Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen (UMCG)


Organisation University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
Name Dr. C.V. (Christian) Hulzebos, MD
E-mail c.v.hulzebos@umcg.nl
Website https://www.umcg.nl/EN/Research/Researchers/Faculty/Paginas/Hulzebos.aspx