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Bilirubin Blood Test: About Your Child's Test

What is a bilirubin test?

This test measures the amount of bilirubin in your child's blood. When bilirubin levels are high, your child's skin and whites of the eyes may look yellow (jaundice). High levels are often caused by the breakdown of extra blood cells. This can also happen when a newborn's liver isn't able to process the bilirubin. This sometimes needs treatment. High levels may also be caused by liver disease.

Why is this test done?

The test is used to:

  • Help decide if newborn babies with jaundice need treatment.
  • Check how well your child's liver is working.
  • Check for the effects of medicines that can damage the liver.
  • Find out if something is blocking the bile ducts.
  • Watch for signs of liver disease, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis.

How can you prepare for the test?

In general, you don't need to prepare before your child has this test.

What happens during the test?

A health professional takes a sample of your child's blood. It may be taken from the arm. In a newborn baby, blood can be taken from the heel.

How long does the test take?

The test will take a few minutes.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your child's test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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