Safety and Efficacy of Filtered Sunlight in Treatment of Jaundice in African Neonates
OBJECTIVES: Evaluate safety and efficacy of filtered-sunlight phototherapy (FS-PT).
METHODS: Term/late preterm infants ≤14 days old with clinically significant jaundice, assessed by total bilirubin (TB) levels, were recruited from a maternity hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. Sunlight was filtered with commercial window-tinting films that remove most UV and significant levels of infrared light and transmit effective levels of therapeutic blue light. After placing infants under an FS-PT canopy, hourly measurements of axillary temperatures, monitoring for sunburn, dehydration, and irradiances of filtered sunlight were performed. Treatment was deemed safe and efficacious if infants were able to stay in FS-PT for ≥5 hours and rate of rise of TB was <0.2 mg/dL/h for infants ≤72 hours of age or TB decreased for infants >72 hours of age.
RESULTS: A total of 227 infants received 258 days of FS-PT. No infant developed sunburn or dehydration. On 85 (33%) of 258 treatment days, infants were removed briefly from FS-PT due to minor temperature-related adverse events. No infant met study exit criteria. FS-PT was efficacious in 92% (181/197) of evaluable treatment days. Mean ± SD TB change was –0.06 ± 0.19 mg/dL/h. The mean ± SD (range) irradiance of FS-PT was 38 ± 22 (2–115) µW/cm2/nm, measured by the BiliBlanket Meter II.
CONCLUSIONS: With appropriate monitoring, filtered sunlight is a novel, practical, and inexpensive method of PT that potentially offers safe and efficacious treatment strategy for management of neonatal jaundice in tropical countries where conventional PT treatment is not available.
- Accepted February 26, 2014.
- Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics