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Bilirubin - urine

Definition

Bilirubin is a yellowish pigment found in bile, a fluid produced by the liver.

This article is about a lab test to measure the amount of bilirubin in the urine. Large amounts of bilirubin in the body can lead to jaundice.

Bilirubin may also be measured with a blood test.

Alternative Names

Conjugated bilirubin - urine; Direct bilirubin - urine

How the test is performed

This test can be done on any urine sample.

For an infant, thoroughly wash the area where urine exits the body.

  • Open a urine collection bag (a plastic bag with an adhesive paper on one end).
  • For males, place the entire penis in the bag and attach the adhesive to the skin.
  • For females, place the bag over the labia.
  • Diaper as usual over the secured bag.

This procedure may take a few tries. An active baby can move the bag causing urine to go into the diaper.

Check the infant often and change the bag after the infant has urinated into it. Drain the urine from the bag into the container provided by your health care provider.

Deliver the sample to the laboratory or to your health care provider as soon as possible.

How to prepare for the test

Many medicines can interfere with blood test results.

  • Your health care provider will tell you if you need to stop taking any medicines before you have this test.
  • Do not stop or change your medications without talking to your doctor first.

How the test will feel

The test involves only normal urination, and there is no discomfort.

Why the test is performed

This test may be done to diagnose liver or gallbladder problems.

Normal Values

Bilirubin is not normally found in the urine.

What abnormal results mean

Increased levels of bilirubin in the urine may be due to:

Special considerations

Bilirubin can break down in light. That is why babies with jaundice are sometimes placed under blue fluorescent lamps.

References

Berk PD, Korenblat KM. Approach to the patient with jaundice or abnormal liver test results. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 149.


Review Date: 5/11/2013
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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