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Home phototherapy for hyperbilirubinemia in term neonates—an unblinded multicentre randomized controlled trial

European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging pp 1-8; doi:10.1007/s00431-021-03932-4

Abstract: The aim of this study was to assess whether home phototherapy was feasible and safe in a cohort of otherwise healthy term-born neonates who fulfilled the criteria for in-hospital phototherapy. This was a randomized controlled trial in which term newborns with a total serum bilirubin of 18–24 mg/dL (300–400 μmol) were randomized to either home phototherapy or conventional in-hospital phototherapy. The primary outcome measurements were safety and efficacy, length of stay and the number of failed treatments. The secondary outcomes were the number of blood samples and weight gain during treatment. One hundred forty-seven patients were recruited, 69 patients randomized to conventional phototherapy and 78 to home phototherapy. The results showed that no patients needed blood exchange and only 4% of the patients allocated to home phototherapy were admitted to the hospital. The duration of phototherapy, length of stay, amount of blood tests and weight change showed no statically significant differences.Conclusion: Home phototherapy could be a safe alternative to inpatient phototherapy for otherwise healthy newborns with hyperbilirubinemia if daily checkups and 24/7 telephone support can be provided. The parents should be informed to contact the hospital immediately if they fail to perform the treatment at home.Trial registration: NCT03536078 What is Known:• Phototherapy in the hospital is a safe and effective treatment without major side effects.• Fibre optic equipment has made the choice of home phototherapy possible. What is New:• This is the first randomized controlled trial comparing home phototherapy with hospital phototherapy.• Results indicate that home phototherapy could be considered as a safe and feasible alternative when performed according to instructions given, to hospital treatment for otherwise healthy term newborns.
Keywords: Neonatal jaundice / Total Serum Bilirubin / Home Phototherapy

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