Clinical utility of transcutaneous bilirubinometer (TcB) in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants

Felix K. Quist, Roopali Bapat, Helen K. Kuch-Kunich, Kanayo Ezeanolue, Saraswati Keeni, Ronald Thomas, Joseph Callaghan, Michael Callaghan, Eugene Cepeda, Nitin S. Chouthai

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3 Scopus citations


This is a comprehensive study designed to evaluate the clinical usefulness of transcutaneous bilirubinometry (TcB) in very low birth weight (VLBW) newborns of African American (AA) descent. TcB was conducted at the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS), temporal region and sternum within 2 h of total serum bilirubin (TSB) measurements in newborns born at ≤32 weeks' gestation prospectively. Average (AVG) TcB levels were also calculated. The relationships between TSB and TcB levels were analyzed using non-parametric Spearman bivariate correlations, a Bland-Altman plot procedure and a decision tree (DT) analysis. One hundred newborns and 555 TSB data points were available. Eighty-nine percent of the newborns were AA. A significant correlation (P<0.0001) was observed between TSB and TcB values obtained at the ASIS (r=0.73), sternum (0.73), temporal region (0.61) and AVG (0.77). The Bland-Altman plot revealed a good agreement between AVG TcB values and TSB values. A DT analysis indicated that AVG TcB was also found to be the most significant predictor of TSB values in both the no phototherapy (PT) and biliblanket subgroups. TcB can be used reliably in VLBW AA newborns in the absence of overhead PT. The use of TcB in monitoring jaundice in VLBW newborns would help decrease the number of blood draws and cost of care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)933-939
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Perinatal Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • African American (AA)
  • neonatal hyperbilirubinemia
  • phototherapy (PT)
  • transcutaneous bilirubinometry (TcB)
  • very low birth weight (VLBW)


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