Dr. De Luca, MD, PhD, Medical Director of Pediatrics and Neonatal Critical Care and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at South Paris University, “A.Beclere” Medical Center, in Paris, France, has identified a novel relationship between skin bilirubin levels and free, unbound circulating bilirubin in the newborn baby, providing new insights into the development and prevention of kernicterus.
Results of Dr. De Luca's research were presented for the first time at The Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in April, 2015.
A Resurgence of Jaundice
In 2000, Dr. De Luca, then a resident physician in Italy, noticed a reemergence of newborn jaundice and accompanying increases
in hospital readmissions with the initiation of early post-partum discharge protocols.
Prior to these new discharge practices, jaundice was diagnosed while newborns remained in the hospital setting, as hyperbilirubinemia formatively peaks at three to five days of age. As more families are returning to the hospital with their jaundiced babies, physicians and hospital administrators are attempting to curtail the health risks, while also decreasing hospital readmissions. With this smaller window of opportunity to diagnose and treat jaundice, bilirubin - which is a highly neurotoxic substance - may develop into a devastating neurologic condition