Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of a new phototherapy light source with a narrow luminous blue spectrum. The device, made with high-intensity gallium nitride light-emitting diodes (LEDs), was compared with conventional phototherapy at similar light intensities.
Setting: Two university-affiliated community hospitals in Jerusalem.
Design: Prospective open randomized study.
Participants: Sixty-nine jaundiced, but otherwise healthy, term infants who met the entry criteria for phototherapy set by the American Academy of Pediatrics' Practice Parameter.
Main outcome measures: The duration of phototherapy and the rate of decrease in total serum bilirubin (TSB) concentration.
Results: The mean TSB concentrations at initiation and termination of treatment did not differ between newborns receiving LED and those receiving conventional phototherapy. The duration of phototherapy and the rate of decrease in TSB concentration were not statistically different in the 2 groups. The average rate of decrease in TSB after adjustment by a linear regression analysis for confounding factors was -3.16 micromol/L/h (95% confidence limits -4.81, -1.51) in newborns receiving LED phototherapy compared with -2.19 micromol/L/h (-3.99, -0.40) in those treated with conventional phototherapy (P <.14). No side effects were noted in any of the newborns.
Conclusions: The blue gallium nitride LED device is as effective as conventional phototherapy and is readily accepted by nursing staff. Future LED phototherapy devices can provide much higher irradiance, and thus greater efficacy, and offer a new highly versatile approach to the treatment of jaundice.