COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Early formation of bilirubin isomers during phototherapy for neonatal jaundice: effects of single vs. double fluorescent lamps vs. photodiodes.

BACKGROUND: In neonatal jaundice, phototherapy converts bilirubin to more polar photoisomers which can be excreted without conjugation. We measured changes in the concentration of bilirubin Z,E-photoisomer during the first 4 h of intensive phototherapy using single fluorescent lights as a reference, compared to double fluorescent lights, and a single unit of photodiodes.

METHODS: Neonates (N = 42; birth weight: 1,200-4,690 g; gestational age: 28-42 wk) were studied during phototherapy. Infants were randomized to: (i) single, or (ii) double fluorescent phototherapy; or (iii) single unit photodiodes. Irradiance was measured. Serum bilirubin (by cooximetry) and Z,E bilirubin (by high-pressure liquid chromatography) were measured at 0,15, 30, 60, 120, and 240 min after the start of phototherapy. Data were analyzed with a linear mixed model.

RESULTS: There was a highly significant increase of Z,E-bilirubin over time (P < 0.0001), starting at 15 min. Photoisomers reached ~25% of total bilirubin concentration after 4 h. However, there were no significant differences between the three randomized groups in spite of significantly higher irradiance using double fluorescent lights vs. single fluorescent or photodiodes.

CONCLUSION: Formation of bilirubin photoisomers is rapid, and occurs early during intensive phototherapy for neonatal jaundice. The rate and level of photoisomerization was not influenced by irradiance and light source.

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