Phototherapy for Jaundice Technique

Updated: May 01, 2018
  • Author: Taylor L Sawyer, DO, MEd, FAAP, FACOP; Chief Editor: Dharmendra J Nimavat, MD, FAAP  more...
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Approach Considerations

See the list below:

  • Determine if the infant requires phototherapy based on the infant total serum bilirubin level, the gestation age, hours of life, and individual risk factors using established guidelines form the American Academy of Pediatrics. [6]

  • Place infant on warmer or in bassinet with diaper on and eye protection in place.

  • Position phototherapy device at bedside with lights set at recommended distance from the infant. For fluorescent and LED lights, this is as close as possible to the infant’s skin, typically less than 10 cm. [6] If using a halogen spot light, the light should be kept at the manufacturer recommended distance to avoid overheating.

  • Turn on the phototherapy lights.

  • Direct light towards the infant with exposure of maximal surface area. If halogen spotlights are used, more than one light may be required to cover the entire infant with light. This is typically done with one light directed at the chest and head, with the second directed at the abdomen and legs.

  • Measure the spectral irradiance of the phototherapy setup with a commercially available radiometer in several areas over the surface of the infant and average the results. [6] See the image below.

    neoBLUE light-emitting diode (LED) phototherapy ra neoBLUE light-emitting diode (LED) phototherapy radiometer.
  • Follow serial bilirubin levels to ensure the phototherapy is effectively decreasing the bilirubin level.

  • Intermittently repeat measurements of the spectral irradiance and maintain the lights in the proper position to provide maximum benefit.