What are the considerations for phototherapy in infants with breast milk jaundice?

Updated: Dec 07, 2017
  • Author: Prashant G Deshpande, MD; Chief Editor: Muhammad Aslam, MD  more...
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Answer

Note the following:

  • Fiberoptic phototherapy can often be safely administered at home, which may allow for improved infant-maternal bonding.

  • Although sunlight provides sufficient irradiance in the 425-nm to 475-nm band to provide phototherapy, practical difficulties involved in safely exposing a naked newborn to sunlight, either indoors or outdoors (and avoiding sunburn), preclude the use of sunlight as a reliable phototherapy tool; therefore, it is not recommended.

  • Phototherapy can be discontinued when serum bilirubin levels drop below 15 mg/dL (260 µmol/L).

  • The average bilirubin level rebound has been shown to be less than 1 mg/dL (17 µmol/L); therefore, rechecking the level after discontinuation of phototherapy is not necessary unless the hyperbilirubinemia is due to a hemolytic process. [30]

For an in-depth discussion of phototherapy, see the Medscape Drugs and Diseases article Neonatal Jaundice.


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