Medical Term:

kernicterus

Pronunciation: ker-nik′tĕr-ŭs

Definition: Jaundice associated with high levels of unconjugated bilirubin, or in small premature infants with more modest degrees of bilirubinemia; yellow staining and degenerative lesions are found chiefly in basal ganglia including in the lenticular nucleus, subthalamus, Ammon horn, and other areas; may occur with hemolytic disorder such as Rh or ABO erythroblastosis or G6PD deficiency as well as with neonatal sepsis or Crigler-Najjar syndrome; characterized early clinically by opisthotonos, high-pitched cry, lethargy, and poor sucking, as well as abnormal or absent Moro reflex, and loss of upward gaze; later consequences include deafness, cerebral palsy, other sensorineural deficits, and mental retardation.

Synonym(s): bilirubin encephalopathy, nuclear jaundice

[Ger. Kern, kernel (nucleus), + Ikterus, jaundice]

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