Intermittent versus continuous phototherapy for the treatment of neonatal non-hemolytic moderate hyperbilirubinemia in infants more than 34 weeks of gestational age: a randomized controlled trial

Eur J Pediatr. 2015 Feb;174(2):177-81. doi: 10.1007/s00431-014-2373-8. Epub 2014 Jul 9.


Intermittent phototherapy with "12 h on and then 12 h off" schedule in comparison with continuous phototherapy for neonatal hyperbilirubinemia may save costs and decrease anxiety of parents. In this non-inferiority-randomized controlled trial, healthy late preterm (>34 weeks) and term neonates with neonatal hyperbilirubinemia under phototherapy for 8 h and total serum bilirubin (TSB) < 18 mg/dL were randomized either into intermittent (IPT) or continuous (CPT) group. Infants in IPT group received 12 h on and 12 h off cycles of phototherapy. In both arms, phototherapy was continued until TSB < 13 mg/dL. Primary outcome was rate of fall of bilirubin. Seventy-five infants (IPT n = 36 vs. CPT n = 39) were enrolled in the study. The rate of fall of bilirubin was significantly higher with "IPT" phototherapy (p = 0.002).

Conclusion: In term and late preterm infants with non-hemolytic moderate hyperbilirubinemia, intermittent phototherapy with 12 h on and 12 h off cycles is as efficacious as continuous phototherapy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Bilirubin / blood
  • Cohort Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Hyperbilirubinemia, Neonatal / blood
  • Hyperbilirubinemia, Neonatal / therapy*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / blood*
  • Jaundice, Neonatal / blood
  • Jaundice, Neonatal / therapy
  • Phototherapy / methods*
  • Time Factors


  • Bilirubin