Pre-hepatic Jaundice

Pre-hepatic Jaundice Definition

Pre-hepatic Jaundice is a type of Jaundice that mainly occurs in adults and older children due to underlying disorder that causes excess RBC (red blood cell) break down. This leads to increased bilirubin production which overwhelms the liver cells (hepatocytes), making the liver unable to eliminate the increased amount of bilirubin from the blood. As a result, the unconjugated bilirubin enters the liver and then the systemic circulation which leads to Jaundice symptoms.

Pre-hepatic Jaundice Causes

It results from various health conditions that causes rapid red blood cell break down and hampers the functioning of the liver. The following disorders are most commonly responsible for this type of Jaundice:

  • Malaria
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Thalassemia
  • Gilbert’s syndrome
  • Crigler-Najjar syndrome
  • Hereditary Spherocytosis

Pre-hepatic Jaundice Symptoms

It causes the regular symptoms of this condition, including yellowing of the skin and eyes. The patient may experience other symptoms like dark urine, pale stool, fever and abdominal pain when the Jaundice is associated with some serious health problems.

Pre-hepatic Jaundice Prevention

It is not possible to prevent the occurrence of the disorder as it is not a separate disease. Preventing the underlying cause of this illness can help to keep it from occurring. But, Pre-hepatic Jaundice associated with some non-preventable genetic or hereditary disease cannot usually be prevented.

Pre-hepatic Jaundice Diagnosis

The diagnosis of this Jaundice involves performing various tests and exams for detecting the condition originally responsible for the bilirubin build up. The diagnosis generally begins with a thorough physical examination while the doctor may also study the medical and family history of the patient. The tests used for making and confirming the diagnosis varies depending on the underlying condition suspected to be present. The common diagnostic techniques include:

  • Blood test
  • Urine test
  • Liver function exams
  • Ultrasound
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • CT (computed tomography) scan

Pre-hepatic Jaundice Differential Diagnosis

It is important for the diagnostician to differentiate between various disorders that can cause the symptoms of bilirubin build up in the body. This is essential for deciding the proper treatment method for the patient. The Jaundice itself does not need differentiation from any other disease as its characteristic symptom of abnormal yellow skin coloration generally confirms the diagnosis.

Pre-hepatic Jaundice Treatment

Treating the underlying disorder responsible for the increasing bilirubin levels helps to reduce the symptoms of Jaundice. One can follow some dietary restrictions and use certain herbal remedies that can help to keep the symptoms under control. But, the most important treatment option is managing the main disease. Different treatment procedures are available for fighting various conditions causing the pre-hepatic form of Jaundice.

  • Malaria: This infectious disease is generally treated using proper medications.
  • Sickle Cell Anemia: Individuals with this condition often requires blood transfusions to stop the abnormal break down of RBC. Decreasing the rate of RBC break down automatically reduces the bilirubin production. Less severe cases of Sickle Cell Anemia can be treated with suitable antibiotics.
  • Thalassemia: The standard treatment procedure for Thalassemia involves regular blood transfusions.
  • Gilbert’s syndrome: It generally does not require any treatment with the condition resolving automatically over time.
  • Crigler-Najjar syndrome: the treatment for this condition generally involves phototherapy, blood transfusions and certain medications.
  • Hereditary Spherocytosis: At present, there is no treatment option available for familial Spherocytosis. Management of the disease includes various medications and surgical interventions.

Pre-hepatic Jaundice Prognosis

The prognosis of the Jaundice depends on the outcome of the underlying condition. If the main disorder can be cured with proper treatment, the symptoms of Jaundice subside themselves.

Pre-hepatic Jaundice is one of the common forms of Jaundice. It can sometimes occur in newborn infants and small children who are affected by conditions like Sickle Cell Anemia, Thalassemia and Spherocytosis; but, it is more common in adults.


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