The bilirubin test is a way to find out how much bilirubin is in the blood. Bilirubin is a substance that is made each day as red blood cells break down. Normally the liver removes bilirubin from the blood. The bilirubin moves through the liver and then into the digestive system in a fluid called bile.
A high level of bilirubin can be caused by problems with the liver, the digestive system, or red blood cells. When there is a lot of bilirubin in the blood, the skin and whites of the eyes get yellow. The yellow color of the skin and eyes is called jaundice. Your skin may itch and your urine may be dark yellow or brown.
This test may be done to:
Having this test will take just a few minutes. A small amount of blood may be taken from a vein in your child’s arm with a needle. For newborns, the blood sample may be taken from the heel. The blood is collected in tubes and sent to a lab.
Ask your healthcare provider when and how you will get the result of the test.
Your child’s level of bilirubin may be higher than normal because:
Test results are only one part of a larger picture that takes into account your child’s medical history, physical exam, and current health. Sometimes a test needs to be repeated to check the first result. Talk to your child’s healthcare provider about the test result and ask questions, such as: