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Definition Return to top
Dubin-Johnson syndrome is a disorder passed down through families (inherited) in which a person has mild jaundice throughout life.
Causes Return to top
Dubin-Johnson syndrome is a very rare genetic disorder. In order to inherit the condition, a child must get a copy of the defective gene from both parents.
The syndrome interferes with the body's ability to move bilirubin from the liver. Bilirubin is produced when the liver breaks down worn-out red blood cells. It normally moves through the bile produced by the liver and into the bile ducts, past the gallbladder, and into the digestive system.
When bilirubin is not properly processed, it builds up in the bloodstream and causes the skin and the whites of the eyes to turn yellow (jaundiced). Severely high levels of bilirubin can damage the brain and other organs.
People with Dubin-Johnson syndrome have life-long mild jaundice that may be made worse by:
Symptoms Return to top
Mild jaundice, which may not appear until puberty or adulthood, is the only symptom of Dubin-Johnson syndrome.
Exams and Tests Return to top
The following tests can help diagnose this syndrome:
Treatment Return to top
No specific treatment is required.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The outlook is very positive. Dubin-Johnson syndrome generally does not shorten a person's life span.
Possible Complications Return to top
Complications are unusual but may include the following:
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if any of the following occurs:
Prevention Return to top
Genetic counseling may be helpful for people who wish to have children and have a family history of Dubin-Johnson syndrome.Update Date: 7/22/2008 Updated 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 David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.