Infant Phototherapy

infant phototherapyThe phototherapy Unit is used to reduce bilirubin in the blood. The device emit visibe light. Blue light is most effective. There are two types phototherapy lamps : Fluorescent tubes and tungsten-halogen spotlight. Irradiance level can be controlled by changing the distance between the infant and the light source. Some systems provide irradiance level controls to adjust the irradiance levels of the light sources.

The phototherapy is a way to treat severe jaundice in the newborn. The baby is irradiated with short-wave, blue light and the bilirubin, which causes jaundice, is chemically transformed so that it can be eliminated via the bile and kidneys.

Bilirubin is a yellowish substance mainly derived from the breakdown of red blood cells. Our liver has the task of chemically changing bilirubin so that it can be rendered water-soluble and thus excreted by the body. Since the liver of a newborn is often not yet able to complete this process, about 60% of mature newborns develop jaundice (jaundice). This is measurable by an increased bilirubin content in the blood and is expressed externally by a yellowing of the skin and in severe jaundice also by yellowing of the eyes.

With phototherapy, one makes use of the positive qualities of light. There are two types of irradiation. One possibility is to irradiate the baby in a warm bed or incubator. Above the newborn, conventional lamps are placed with fluorescent tubes and illuminate it with a light of wavelengths in the blue range. Since the largest possible skin area should be irradiated, the baby should be dressed only in a small diaper. The alternative is fiber optic light mats, which are placed in the cot and on which the newborn can be laid bare. It is important that the child is never left alone during the irradiation and attention is paid to an adequate fluid intake.

The phototherapy should be used at a significantly elevated bilirubin levels and only if it exceeds a specified limit, as it can have consequences for the affected children. Most newborns with jaundice require no special treatment – a bright sleeping place with sunlight is sufficient. Side effects of phototherapy are that it comes through the light irradiation to increased evaporation of water through the skin and the small organism with increased water and salt loss must cope. Fluid loss, diarrhea and temperature instability may be the result of phototherapy. In addition, the light burdens the skin of the newborn. Some children develop dermatitis. The eyes of the child must necessarily be protected by a blindfold. Despite these side effects, which do not affect all irradiated children to the same extent, phototherapy is an essential and supportive therapy for the newborn to cope with jaundice.

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