Comparison between continuous and intermittent phototherapy in the management of neonatal jaundice


Background and Objectives: Since 1950s, phototherapy had been the treatment of choice for neonatal jaundice. Continuous phototherapy was the pattern used for many years; however intermittent phototherapy was also used with conflicting and controversial results. This work aim is to assess intermittent phototherapy for the treatment of neonatal jaundice in comparison with continuous phototherapy.Methods: In a prospective clinical study all newborns with neonatal jaundice admitted to neonatology department of Raperin hospital in Erbil, between August 2009 and February 2010, for phototherapy were included in the study. The patients were randomly divided into 2 groups. In the control group continuous phototherapy defined as two hours on and half an hour off was used while in the study group intermittent phototherapy defined as one hour on and one hour off was used. Mean total serum bilirubin level in both continuous and intermittent phototherapy groups were compared after each12, 24, 36, 48, and 72 hours of commencing phototherapy. The effect of biodemographic characteristics (gender, gestational age, birth weight, age in hours, and bilirubin levels at admission) were also studied.Results: There was no any significant difference between the two groups regarding mean total serum bilirubin measured at every 12 hours. There was no any significant difference between the 2 groups regarding biodemographic characteristics (p> 0.05).Conclusion: Intermittent phototherapy is as effective as continuous one in the treatment of indirect hyperbilirubinemia in full term infants and in the absence of hemolytic causes.