"Jaundice" is a yellowish pigmentation of the skin, conjunctival membranes and mucous membranes caused by hyperbilirubinemia (increased levels of bilirubin in the blood).

Jaundice occurs in most newborn infants. Most jaundice is benign, but because of the potential toxicity of bilirubin, newborn infants must be monitored to identify those who might develop severe hyperbilirubinemia and, in rare cases, acute bilirubin encephalopathy or kernicterus.

Transcutaneous Bilirubinometry

Introduced into clinical practice in 1980, this is a non invasive way of detecting bilirubin levels in patients.

These meters work by directing light into the skin of the neonate and measuring the intensity of specific wavelength that is returned. The number of wavelengths, used is variable in different transcutaneous bilirubinometers. The meter analyzes the spectrum of optical signal reflected from the neonate’s subcutaneous tissues. These optical signals are converted to electrical signal by a photocell. These are analyzed by a microprocessor to generate a serum bilirubin value.


TCBTool was inspired by Bilitool.org. In the nursery and NICU, we often use this tool to help guide our decision making regarding treatment or monitoring of bilirubinemia.

As bilirubinometers become more advanced, nurseries and NICUs are turning this this option to screen newborns for jaundice because it is accurate and painless.

This tool was created to work like Bilitool does for serum bilirubin, but for Transcutaneous Bilirubin.

J. Ryan Heinrick MD

Ryan is currently a Pediatrician and previously a website and database developer. He attended Boston University School of Medicine and is currently a Pediatric Resident Physician at The University of Arizona's Diamond Children's Medical Center in Tucson, AZ.

Click here to contact Ryan.