Introduction: Hyperbilirubinemia is one of the most common problems in newborns, and it is reported in about 60% of infants. Phototherapy is used extensively to treat these patients, and hypocalcemia is one important side effect of the phototherapy. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of hypocalcemia after phototherapy in full-term newborns that underwent phototherapy in Koodakan Hospital in Bandar Abbas in 2013.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 100 neonates admitted to Koodakan Hospital in Bandar Abbas. All of the newborns were full-term, healthy, weighed more than 2,500 g, and were candidates for phototherapy. The newborns were divided into two groups, i.e., 1) those who were more than three days old and 2) those who were less than three days old. Serum bilirubin and calcium levels were measured for each newborn before phototherapy and 48 hours after phototherapy, and the before and after levels were compared. The data were analyzed using IBM SPSS 21.0 statistical software. The Fisher Exact test, the independent samples t-test, and the paired t-test were used to test the research hypothesis.

Results: Among the 100 newborns studied, 54% had decreased calcium levels after phototherapy. The prevalence of hypocalcemia was 9% in this study, and the prevalence was not significantly different in the two age groups (P = 0.217). 

Conclusion: Phototherapy does not increase the risk of hypocalcemia in healthy, full-term neonates. Therefore, prophylactic calcium is not recommended for healthy, full-term neonates who have undergone phototherapy.


Keywords: hypocalcemia, phototherapy, hyperbilirubinemia, newborns
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