The Impact of Phototherapy on the Accuracy of Transcutaneous Bilirubin Measurements in Neonates: Optimal Measurement Site and Timing
Ho, S.-R.; Lin, Y.-C.; Chen, C.-N.
Transcutaneous bilirubinometer devices are widely applied to assess neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. However, the optimal skin site and timing of transcutaneous bilirubin (TCB) measurements for the strongest correlation with total serum bilirubin (TSB) levels after phototherapy are still unclear. We conducted a retrospective observational study evaluating the correlation of TCB and TSB levels in neonates postphototherapy. The TCB measurements on the forehead and mid-sternum at 0 and 30 min postphototherapy were assessed by using a JM-103 bilirubinometer. Paired TCB and TSB measurements were assessed by Pearson correlation and Bland-Altman plots. We analyzed 40 neonates with 96 TSB and 384 TCB measurements. The TSB level correlated moderately with the forehead TCB level at 30 min postphototherapy (r = 0.65) and less strongly with the midsternum TCB level at 0 min postphototherapy (r = 0.52). The forehead at 30 min after cessation of phototherapy was the best time point and location of TCB measurement for the assessment of neonatal jaundice status. The reliability of TCB measurements varied across skin sites and durations after phototherapy. The effectiveness of TCB measurement to assess neonatal hyperbilirubinemia is much better on covered skin areas (foreheads) 30 min postphototherapy. The appropriate application of transcutaneous bilirubinometers could aid in clinical practice and avoid unnecessary management.