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(jôn`dĭs, jän`–), abnormal condition in which the body fluids and tissues, particularly the skin and eyes, take on a yellowish color as a result of an excess of bilirubin. During the normal breakdown of old erythrocytes (red blood cells), their hemoglobin is converted into bilirubin. Normally the bilirubin is removed from the bloodstream by the liverliver,
largest glandular organ of the body, weighing about 3 lb (1.36 kg). It is reddish brown in color and is divided into four lobes of unequal size and shape. The liver lies on the right side of the abdominal cavity beneath the diaphragm.
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 and eliminated from the body in the bilebile,
bitter alkaline fluid of a yellow, brown, or green color, secreted, in man, by the liver. Bile, or gall, is composed of water, bile acids and their salts, bile pigments, cholesterol, fatty acids, and inorganic salts.
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, which passes from the liver into the intestines. There are several conditions that may interrupt the elimination of bilirubin from the blood and cause jaundice. Hemolytic jaundice is caused by excessive disintegration of erythrocytes; it occurs in hemolytic and other types of anemia and in some infectious diseases like malaria. Another type of jaundice results from obstruction in or about the liver; usually a stone or stricture of the bile duct blocks the passage of bile from the liver into the intestines. A third type of jaundice occurs when the liver cells are damaged by diseases such as hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver; the damaged liver is unable to remove bilirubin from the blood. Treatment of jaundice is directed to the underlying cause. Many instances of obstructive jaundice may require surgery.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a yellow coloring of the body tissues in man, as a result of excess accumulation in the blood of the bile pigment bilirubin and of its metabolic products. Several types of jaun-dice are discerned, according to the mechanism of its origin—prehepatic and posthepatic.

Prehepatic jaundice is caused by an increased content of free bilirubin circulating in the blood, formed as a result of increased decomposition of the erythrocytes (hemolytic jaundice), or of congenital or acquired deficiency of enzymes that participate in binding bilirubin with glucuronic acid. Hemolytic jaundice appears in hemolytic disease of the new-born and in poisoning with hemolytic toxins; it is characterized by increased excretion of the products of bilirubin metabolism in the urine (urobilin) and feces (stercobilin, which causes the saturated pigmentation of the feces). Other types of jaundice caused by disruption in the capture and bonding of bilirubin and proceeding without substantive affection of liver cells are physiological jaundice of the new-born, nuclear jaundice, and juvenile jaundice. Hepatogenic jaundice (parenchymatous jaundice) is a function of organic (infectious, parasitic, or toxic) affection of the liver itself and is conditioned by the formation of an anastomosis between blood and bile capillaries and also by intrahepatic stasis of bile during inflammations of the liver. There appear, along with other symptoms of liver affection, a saturated pigmentation of the urine and faintly colored feces.

Posthepatic, or mechanical, jaundice develops due to disruption of the patency of the bile ducts, as a result of their stenosis or obstruction or from external pressure, and is manifested by the complete absence of stercobilin in the feces (colorless stools); it sometimes appears as a result of spasm of the sphincter at the point of influx of the bile duct into the duodenum. Pure forms of jaundice are not ordinarily found: in hemolytic jaundice, a mechanical component is added due to concentration of the bile and obstruction of the bile path-ways; affection of the liver cells is added to mechanical jaun-dice and it acquires some features of hepatogenic jaundice. As a result of the increased blood content of the bile components, jaundice is accompanied by itching, which is sometimes extremely distressing. In complete mechanical jaun-dice, there is disruption of the intestinal digestion and of fat and vitamin absorption, and the body is depleted of lime.

In a number of instances, a yellow coloring of the skin and other body tissues may be caused by pigments in food (for example, the carotene contained in carrots) or medications (acrichin).


Bondar’, Z. A.Zheltukhi. Moscow, 1965.
Bondar’, Z. A. Klinicheskaia gepatologiia. Moscow, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(invertebrate zoology)
Yellow coloration of the skin, mucous membranes, and secretions resulting from hyperbile-rubinemia. Also known as icterus.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes due to the abnormal presence of bile pigments in the blood, as in hepatitis
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Generally, anicteric leptospirosis and icteric leptospirosis are the two types of infections that illustrate different signs and symptoms (5).
HSV hepatitis should not be excluded based on the lack of mucocutaneous lesions, systemic inflammatory reaction markers, ARF, or anicteric hepatitis; however these findings may be used to support a suspected diagnosis.
The outbreak in Chennai typically belongs to tropical, anicteric and urban kind according to Faine (15,16) epidemiological patterns and scores found to be 25 to 35.
It typically occurs as two clinically recognizable syndromes: the anicteric leptospirosis (80-90% of all cases) and the remainder icteric leptospirosis.2 A retrospective study shows that non- specific symptoms are the commonest presentation.6Pancreatitis and acalculous cholesystitis have been described as an uncommon complication of leptospirosis in a number of case reports.78 The mechanism of acute pancreatitis or acalculous cholecystitis in Leptospirosis still remains unclear.
Leptospirosis typically has two clinical forms: anicteric and icterohaemorrhagic.
The sclerae were anicteric. The abdomen was soft, flat, and without palpable organomegaly.
Elevated transaminase levels, hepatosplenomegaly, and anicteric hepatitis
Grade I hepatic encephalopathy was observed in 5 patients (12.5%), grade II in 11 patients (27.5%), grade III in 15 patients (37.5%) and grade IV in 9 patients (22.5%); 5 patients (12.5%) were anicteric at the onset of hepatic encephalopathy, defined by no clinical jaundice and total bilirubin level less than 3mg/dL.
The patient seemed to be fatigued but alert and oriented; she was anicteric, and she had no nuchal rigidity or focal neurologic deficits.
Patients on maintainence haemodialysis and chronic HBsAg carriage rarely develop symptoms of hepatitis, are anicteric and have mild elevations of hepatic transaminase levels but silent hepatocellular injury continues.7 As the transaminase levels are usually depressed in patients undergoing maintainence haemodialysis, \'normal\' values of these enzymes may be indicative of a pathological state.
In another study made by our group in Campos dos Goytacazes-RJ, differential diagnosis of dengue from anicteric leptospirosis was found to important, due to similar clinical manifestations.