1. Rosenberg, Karen
  2. Mechcatie, Elizabeth MA, BSN


According to this study:


* Infants-particularly boys-exposed to phototherapy for jaundice are at increased risk for epilepsy in childhood.



Article Content

Phototherapy is commonly used to lower bilirubin levels in newborns who have jaundice. However, studies have linked the use of phototherapy with a risk of developing diabetes, autism, and cancer.


To address a major limitation of these studies-the failure to control for neonatal bilirubin levels-researchers evaluated the association between seizure risk and phototherapy using data from a cohort of almost 500,000 children born from 1995 to 2011, adjusting for total serum bilirubin and other confounding variables. Of the 37,683 children who received phototherapy, 3,153 received at least one seizure diagnosis and one antiepileptic drug prescription-the primary outcome of this study. The authors found a crude association between neonatal exposure to phototherapy and childhood seizures. A small increased risk of seizures was more pronounced in boys.


The authors conclude that there is a need to consider raising the threshold for phototherapy treatment in infants.-EM




Newman TB, et al. Pediatrics 2018;142(4):e20180648.