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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 4/27/2015

Updated by: Kimberly G Lee, MD, MSc, IBCLC, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.