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J Pediatr. 1985 Jul;107(1):121-4.

Randomized trial of prophylactic phototherapy in the infant with very low birth weight.


Twenty-two preterm infants (birth weight 850 +/- 220 gm) were randomly assigned to receive phototherapy either soon after birth or after the serum bilirubin concentration reached 5 mg/dl. Infants receiving prophylactic phototherapy were placed under lights at a significantly earlier age and lower serum bilirubin concentration than infants in the routine group (P less than 0.001). There was no significant difference between groups in peak serum bilirubin concentration, age at which it peaked, rate of rise in serum bilirubin concentration, or serum bilirubin concentration at any time during the study. Infants assigned to the prophylactic phototherapy group were under lights for a significantly longer time than those in the routine group (P less than 0.05). There was a significant rise in both configurational and structural photo-isomers (P less than 0.005) independent of serum bilirubin concentration after phototherapy in all patients. These data suggest that the clinical course of hyperbilirubinemia is not altered in infants with very low birth weight receiving prophylactic phototherapy compared with infants with phototherapy begun at a bilirubin concentration of 5 mg/dl.

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