Bilirubin:- Part 2 – Conjugated, Direct Bilirubin (Conjugated Hyperbilirubinemia)
November 11, 2022Chemical pathologyLab Tests
Conjugated, Direct Bilirubin
- This test is done in the serum of the patient.
- A random sample can be taken.
- This is ideal if the patient has nothing except water 4 to 8 hours before the sample.
- The sample is stable at 4 °C for 3 days.
- Protect the sample from the light because bilirubin is photo-oxidized (photosensitive).
Precautions for Conjugated, Direct Bilirubin
- Avoid hemolysis and lipemic serum, which will give a false result.
- Avoid drugs that will increase the total bilirubin level like:
- Anabolic steroids.
- Antimalarial drugs.
- Antihypertensive drug-like methyldopa.
- Oral contraceptives.
- Antituberculous drugs like rifampin.
- Medications that will decrease the bilirubin level are:
- Exposure of the sample to sunlight or ultraviolet light may decrease the level.
Pathophysiology of Conjugated, Direct Bilirubin
- Bilirubin is yellow to a green pigment of bile derived from the porphyrin structure of hemoglobin.
- Excessive bilirubin within cells and the tissue causes jaundice (Icterus) or yellowness of the skin.
Mechanism of Hyperbilirubinemia:
- Destruction of the RBCs like hemolytic jaundice.
- Diseases affecting the metabolism and excretion of bilirubin in the liver.
- Obstructions like gallstones or pancreatic tumors and certain drugs like:
- Chlorpromazine and phenothiazine derivatives.
- Estrogen hormones.
- Halothane anesthetic drugs.
- Bilirubin estimation is one of the liver function tests.
- It is raised in the hepatic and post-hepatic types of jaundice.
- Clinically jaundice appears when the bilirubin level is more than 2 mg/dl.
Direct (or conjugated) bilirubin:
- Direct bilirubin dissolves in water (water-soluble) and is synthesized in the liver from indirect bilirubin.
- The one-minute van den Berg reaction is called a direct reaction, and the bilirubin reaction is called direct bilirubin or conjugated bilirubin.
- While the bilirubin reacting in 30 minutes (with the help of alcohol) is called indirect or unconjugated bilirubin.
Normal Values of Conjugated, Direct Bilirubin
- Total bilirubin = 0.3 to 1.0 mg/dL (5.1 to 17.0 mmol/L)
- Direct bilirubin = 0.1 to 0.3 mg/dL (1.0 to 5.1 mmol/L)
- Indirect bilirubin (total bilirubin minus direct bilirubin level) = 0.2–0.7 mg/dL
Another source is the Total bilirubin level
|Age||Premature mg/dL||Full-term mg/dL||Adult mg/dL|
|0 to 1 day||<8.0||1.4 to 8.7|
|1 to 2 days||<12.0||3.4 to 11.5|
|3 to 5 days||<16.0||1.5 to 12.0|
|5 days to 60 years||0.3 to 1.2|
|60 to 90 year||0.2 to 1.1|
|>90 year||0.2 to 0.9|
Raised level of direct bilirubin is seen in the following:
- Gallbladder tumors.
- Inflammatory scarring or obstruction of extrahepatic ducts.
- Extensive liver metastasis.
- Dubin-Johnson syndrome.
- Rotor syndrome.
- Drugs may cause cholestasis.
Raised direct and indirect bilirubin is seen in:
- Hepatocellular disease.
- Hepatitis (viral disease).
- Dubon-Johnson syndrome.
The panic value that needs action are:
- Total bilirubin infants >15 mg/dL will require phototherapy.
- Total bilirubin in infants >20 mg/dL requires a blood transfusion.
- Untreated infants will get kernicterus which may lead to permanent brain damage.
Please see more details on bilirubin Total part 1.
Hello Thanks for the info.
At times we find crazy results. How or when does d.bilirubin be higher than Total bilirubin? Even after running controls and are normal. Help, I find it hard to comprehend.
Please see the link below, which may solve your issue>