What causes unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia?

Updated: May 21, 2019
  • Author: Hisham Nazer, MBBCh, FRCP, DTM&H; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia can result from increased production, impaired conjugation, or impaired hepatic uptake of bilirubin, a yellow bile pigment produced from hemoglobin during erythrocyte destruction. [1, 2] It can also occur naturally in newborns. Unless treated vigorously, most patients with Crigler-Najjar syndrome type 1, a form of unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia, die in early infancy.

The image below illustrates the production of bilirubin.

Production of bilirubin. Production of bilirubin.

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