Neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia at High Altitude

Cynthia Leibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


• A previous retrospective study showed an increased frequency of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia at high altitude in Colorado. In a prospective study we found that 39% of newborns at 3100m altitude vs 16% at 1600 m exhibited hyperbilirubinemia, defined as a day 3 serum bilirubin level of 205 μmol/L or higher. Increased bilirubin production at 3100 m vs 1600 m was shown by increased levels of corrected carboxyhemoglobin. This finding was supported by increased erythropoietin and bilirubin values in cord blood and increased hematocrit values at day 3 among infants at 3100 m vs 1600 m. The sustained elevation in bilirubin for breastfed vs formula-fed infants at 1600 m was observed for both feeding types at 3100 m. The findings suggested that there is a hematologic response to decreased oxygen availability at high altitude, resulting in increased bilirubin production accompanied by delayed bilirubin clearance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)983-987
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Diseases of Children
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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