How is phototherapy administered in the treatment of nonphysiologic jaundice in unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia?

Updated: May 21, 2019
  • Author: Hisham Nazer, MBBCh, FRCP, DTM&H; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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No treatment is needed for physiologic jaundice. For breast milk jaundice and other types of nonphysiologic jaundice, phototherapy can be used.

Phototherapy, which consists of exposing the infant's skin to light, is a safe and efficient method to reduce the toxicity of bilirubin and to increase its elimination. The use of phototherapy decreases the risk that the total serum bilirubin concentration will reach the level at which exchange transfusion is recommended. [73]

Maintaining adequate hydration and urine output is important during phototherapy to prevent dehydration.

An uncommon complication of phototherapy is the so-called bronze baby syndrome. This occurs in some infants with cholestatic jaundice and is manifested by a dark, grayish brown discoloration of the skin, serum, and urine. The condition gradually resolves without sequelae within several weeks after discontinuation of therapy.

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