n. a yellow discoloration of the skin or whites of the eyes, indicating excess bilirubin (a bile pigment) in the blood. Jaundice is classified into three types. Obstructive jaundice occurs when bile made in the liver fails to reach the intestine due to obstruction of the bile ducts (e.g. by gallstones or a tumour) or to cholestasis. The urine is dark, the faeces pale, and the patient may itch. Hepatocellular jaundice is due to disease of the liver cells, such as hepatitis, when the liver is unable to utilize the bilirubin, which accumulates in the blood. The urine may be dark but the faeces retain their colour. Haemolytic jaundice occurs when there is excessive destruction of red cells in the blood (see haemolysis). Urine and faeces retain their normal colour. Medical name: icterus.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.