Global Prevalence of Severe Neonatal Jaundice among Hospital Admissions: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Udochukwu M Diala, Fatima Usman, Duke Appiah, Laila Hassan, Tolulope Ogundele, Fatima Abdullahi, Katherine M Satrom, Caitlin J Bakker, Burton W Lee, Tina M Slusher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Evidence regarding the adverse burden of severe neonatal jaundice (SNJ) in hospitalized neonates in resource-constrained settings is sparse. We attempted to determine the prevalence of SNJ, described using clinical outcome markers, in all World Health Organization (WHO) regions in the world. Data were sourced from Ovid Medline, Ovid Embase, Cochrane Library, African Journals Online, and Global Index Medicus. Hospital-based studies, including the total number of neonatal admissions with at least one clinical outcome marker of SNJ, defined as acute bilirubin encephalopathy (ABE), exchange blood transfusions (EBT), jaundice-related death, or abnormal brainstem audio-evoked response (aBAER), were independently reviewed for inclusion in this meta-analysis. Of 84 articles, 64 (76.19%) were from low- and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs), and 14.26% of the represented neonates with jaundice in these studies had SNJ. The prevelance of SNJ among all admitted neonates varied across WHO regions, ranging from 0.73 to 3.34%. Among all neonatal admissions, SNJ clinical outcome markers for EBT ranged from 0.74 to 3.81%, with the highest percentage observed in the African and South-East Asian regions; ABE ranged from 0.16 to 2.75%, with the highest percentages observed in the African and Eastern Mediterranean regions; and jaundice-related deaths ranged from 0 to 1.49%, with the highest percentage observed in the African and Eastern Mediterranean regions. Among the cohort of neonates with jaundice, the prevalence of SNJ ranged from 8.31 to 31.49%, with the highest percentage observed in the African region; EBT ranged from 9.76 to 28.97%, with the highest percentages reported for the African region; ABE was highest in the Eastern Mediterranean (22.73%) and African regions (14.51%). Jaundice-related deaths were 13.02%, 7.52%, 2.01% and 0.07%, respectively, in the Eastern Mediterranean, African, South-East Asian and European regions, with none reported in the Americas. aBAER numbers were too small, and the Western Pacific region was represented by only one study, limiting the ability to make regional comparisons. The global burden of SNJ in hospitalized neonates remains high, causing substantial, preventable morbidity and mortality especially in LMICs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3738
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Volume12
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2023

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© 2023 by the authors.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review

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