Kernicterus is a condition where very high bilirubin levels in the blood are deposited in the brain tissue causing irreversible damage to the brain. In the newborn, early diagnosis and treatment of jaundice or conditions that lead to jaundice may help prevent kernicterus.
Review Date 5/24/2021
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.