Asked in
Back Neck and Spine
Symptoms

What are the symptoms of bilirubin encephalopathy?

Answer

User Avatar
Wiki User
April 05, 2008 6:19PM

Kernicterus or bilirubin encephalopathy is a rare neurological disorder characterized by excessive levels of bilirubin in the blood (hyperbilirubinemia) during infancy. Bilirubin is an orange-yellow bile pigment that is a byproduct of the natural breakdown of hemoglobin in red blood cells (hemolysis). Toxic levels of bilirubin may accumulate in the brain, potentially resulting in a variety of symptoms and physical findings.These symptoms may include lack of energy (lethargy), poor feeding habits, fever, and vomiting. Affected infants may also experience the absence of certain reflexes (e.g., Moro reflex, etc.); mild to severe muscle spasms including those in which the head and heels are bent backward and the body bows forward (opisthotonus); and/or uncontrolled involuntary muscle movements (spasticity). In some cases, infants with kernicterus may develop life-threatening complications.