Epidemiology of hyperbilirubinemia in a quaternary pediatric emergency department over a three-year period

Zebulon Timmons, Jaci Timmons, Christina Conrad, Tamir Miloh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: There is a lack of scholarly reports on pediatric emergency department (PED) exposure to hyperbilirubinemia. We aimed to describe the epidemiology of hyperbilirubinemia in patients presenting to a PED over a three-year period. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study, completed at an urban quaternary academic PED. Patients were included if they presented to the PED from 2010 to 2012, were 0 to 18 years in age, and had an elevated serum bilirubin for age. A chart review was completed to determine the incidence of hyperbilirubinemia, etiology, diagnostic work up and prognosis. The data set was stratified into four age ranges. Results: We identified 1,534 visits where a patient was found to have hyperbilirubinemia (0.8% of all visits). In 47.7% of patients hyperbilirubinemia was determined to have arisen from an identifiable pathologic etiology (0.38% of all visits). First-time diagnosis of pathologic hyperbilirubinemia occurred in 14% of hyperbilirubinemia visits (0.11% of all visits). There were varying etiologies of hyperbilirubinemia across age groups but a male predominance in all (55.0%). 15 patients went on to have a liver transplant and 20 patients died. First-time pathologic hyperbilirubinemia patients had a mortality rate of 0.95% for their initial hospitalization. Conclusion: Hyperbilirubinemia was not a common presentation to the PED and a minority of cases were pathologic in etiology. The etiologies of hyperbilirubinemia varied across each of our study age groups. A new discovery of pathologic hyperbilirubinemia and progression to liver transplant or death during the initial presentation was extremely rare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-305
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Emergency medicine
  • Hyperbilirubinemia
  • Pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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