Percentile analysis of plasma total bilirubin—How different will the rate of phototherapy for jaundice of neonates be by different standards?


Phototherapy of a jaundiced neonate is usually started when bilirubin exceeds a threshold in the standard. There are several standards used in the developed countries even though the guideline of American Academy of Pediatrics is considered to be a global standard. Although the purpose of phototherapy is the prevention of kernicterus, nowadays the prevalence of kernicterus in otherwise healthy term neonates in the developed countries is rare. Meanwhile several potential adverse effects of phototherapy have been reported. In the present study we tried to estimate how different the rate of phototherapy for the jaundice of neonates at lower risk of kernicterus would be by different standards. For this purpose, we utilized the records of plasma total bilirubin (TB) values of 1893 healthy neonates of 38 weeks and more which were measured on day 6 for the percentile analysis. However, this database did not include the TB values of the neonates who received phototherapy by day 6. Then the database was corrected with an assumption that TB on day 6 would have been normally distributed if no phototherapy had been performed. The mean and the standard deviation (SD) of corrected database were 11.29 mg/dl (193 μmol/l) and 3.63 mg/dl (62 μmol/l), respectively. Using a standard distribution with these mean and SD, the percents of TB values which exceed 18.0, 19.0, 20.0 and 21.0 mg/dl on day 6 were estimated 3.22%, 1.70%, 0.82% and 0.35%, respectively. Results of the present report would help to estimate the relative rate of phototherapy that is performed for the neonates who are term and otherwise healthy by different standards.

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Nagao, Y. , Watanabe, H. and Yokota, S. (2012) Percentile analysis of plasma total bilirubin—How different will the rate of phototherapy for jaundice of neonates be by different standards?. Open Journal of Pediatrics, 2, 133-137. doi: 10.4236/ojped.2012.22022.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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