Correlation of serum bilirubin and transcutaneous bilirubin in newborns


  • Pavitra V. Arunachalmath Department of Pediatrics, Raichur Institute of Medical Sciences, Raichur, Karnataka, India



Transcutaneous bilirubin, Total serum bilirubin, Hyperbilirubinemia, Newborn


Background: Hyperbilirubinemia is a very common entity in newborns. Screening all the babies for hyperbilirubinemia is must. Serum bilirubin is the standard method of checking the bilirubin in newborns. This is very cumbersome, invasive and time consuming method. Hence many newborns will be discharged without screening. Transcutaneous bilirubinometry would help us in making this task easy and safe. Hence the present study was planned.

Methods: This is an institutional cross sectional study conducted in a tertiary care hospital for a period of 6 months. After a written informed consent from parents/ guardians and considering selection criteria, 500 newborns with clinical jaundice were included in study. Each newborn was examined, transcutaneous bilirubin checked at forehead and sternum and serum bilirubin was done at the same time. Data was statistically analyzed to see the correlation between TcB and TSB.

Results: Out of 500 newborns, 316 were males, 184 were females and 475 were term gestation and 25 were preterm. Coefficient of correlation was 0.73 and 0.72 for total serum bilirubin versus forehead and sternum respectively which were statistically significant.

Conclusions: Transcutaneous bilirubinometer readings closely correlate with that of serum bilirubin. Hence TcB can be used as a safer, economical and effective tool in screening newborns for hyperbilirubinemia.


Author Biography

Pavitra V. Arunachalmath, Department of Pediatrics, Raichur Institute of Medical Sciences, Raichur, Karnataka, India

Department of Pediatrics

Senior Resident


Erin ES. Jaundice and hyperbilirubinemia in the Newborn. In: Kliegman, Stanton BF, Schor NF, Joseph W, St Geme III, eds. Nelson textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Phialdelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019: 871.

O'Connor MC, Lease MA, Whalen BL. How to use: transcutaneous bilirubinometry. Arch Dis Child Educ Pract Ed. 2013;98(4):154-9.

Bhutani V, Gourley GR, Adler S. Noninvasive measurement of total serum bilirubin in multiracial predischarge newborn population to assess the risk of severe hyperbilirubinemia. Pediatrics. 2000;106(2): 45-50.

Itsuro Y, Yoshitada Y, Ikuko I. New borns. Pediatr. 1980;65(2):195-202.

Yamamoto LG, Killeen J, French GM. Transcutaneous bilirubin measurement methods in neonates and its utility for emergency department use. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2012;28(4):380-4.

Ullah S, Rahman K, Hedayati M. Hyperbilirubinemia in neonates: types, causes, clinical examinations, preventive measures and treatments: A narrative review article. Iran J Public Health. 2016;45(5):558-68.

Bhutani VK, Vilms RJ, Hamerman-Johnson L. Universal bilirubin screening for severe neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. J Perinatol. 2010;30:S6-15.

Nagar G, Vandermeer B, Campbell S, Kumar M. Effect of phototherapy on the reliability of transcutaneous bilirubin devices in term and near-term infants: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neonatol. 2016;109(3):203-12.

Pendse A, Jasani B, Nanavati R, Kabra N. Comparison of transcutaneous bilirubin measurement with total serum bilirubin levels in preterm neonates receiving phototherapy. Indian Pediatr. 2017;54(8): 641-3.

Okwundu CI, Uthman OA, Suresh G, Smith J, Wiysonge CS, Bhutani VK. Transcutaneous bilirubinometry versus total serum bilirubin measurement for newborns. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;2017(5):CD012660.

Olusanya BO, Imosemi DO, Emokpae AA. differences between transcutaneous and serum bilirubin measurements in black African neonates. Pediatr. 2016;138(3):e20160907.

Mansouri M, Mahmoodnejad A, Sarvestani RT, Gharibi F. A comparison between transcutaneous bilirubin (TcB) and total serum bilirubin (TSB) measurements in term neonates. Int J Pediatr. 2015; 3(1):633-41.

Tiwari MM, Pise HN. Comparative study between serum and transcutaneous bilirubin measurements in newborns. Int J Contemp Pediatr. 2019;6:817-22.

Karen T, Bucher HU, Fauchère JC. Comparison of a new transcutaneous bilirubinometer (Bilimed) with serum bilirubin measurements in preterm and full-term infants. BMC Pediatr. 2009; 9:70.

Shah B, Gosai D, Prajapati J. Comparison study between serum and transcutaneous bilirubin measurement with special reference to gestational age. Int J Sci Res. 2015;4(1):2250-3.

Canyang Z, Jiarong P, Jing D, Yingfang Y, Jiyan Z LC. Evaluation of the Bilichek transcutaneous bilirubinometer in the Chinese. Biomed Res. 2016; 27(4):1390-4.

Fatih MS, Fatma N, Müferet E. Comparison of transcutaneous and total serum bilirubin measurement in Turkish newborns. Turkish J Pediatr. 2014;56:612-7.

Fonseca R, Kyralessa R, Malloy M, Richardson J, Jain SK. Covered skin transcutaneous bilirubin estimation is comparable with serum bilirubin during and after phototherapy. J Perinatol. 2012;32(2):129-31.

PanburanaJ, Boonkasidach S, Rearkyai S. Accuracy of transcutaneous bilirubinometry compare to total serum bilirubin measurement. J Med Assoc Thai. 2010;93(2):S81-6.






Original Research Articles