To compare total serum bilirubin (TSB) levels, phototherapy usage, and hospital readmission for jaundice among neonates with Down syndrome vs controls.
A retrospective cohort study using 15 years of multihospital data. We created control reference intervals (5th, median, and 95th percentiles) for initial TSB values hourly during the first days after birth, and determined the proportion of neonates with Down syndrome whose TSB exceeded the 95th percentile control interval. We determined the proportion with an initial TSB exceeding the upper control reference interval, the highest TSB recorded, the percentage of neonates receiving phototherapy, and the rate of hospital readmission for jaundice treatment.
We compared 357 neonates with Down syndrome with 377 368 controls. Compared with controls, those with Down syndrome had 4.7 times the risk (95% CI, 3.9-5.7; P < .0001) of an initial TSB exceeding the 95th percentile control interval (23.5% vs 5.0%), 8.9 times (95% CI, 8.1-9.8; P < .0001) the phototherapy usage (62.2% vs 7.0%), and 3.6 times (95% CI, 1.6-8.2; P = .0075) the readmission rate for jaundice (17.4 vs 4.8 per 1000 live births).
Neonates with Down syndrome have a substantial risk of early hyperbilirubinemia. The American Academy of Pediatrics currently advises obtaining an early screening complete blood count from neonates with Down syndrome. We submit that assessing their TSB is also advisable.

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