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New treatment for neonatal jaundice.

A fiberoptic pad that delivers light to a newborn's skin may offer simpler treatment for neonatal jaundice than the phototherapy currently used. The Biliblanket, developed and being tested at Rainbow Babies'and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, allows parents to hold their baby during therapy and can also be used at home.

Jaundice develops in about 15% of newborns because the liver is too immature to remove bilirubin from blood. A nurse discovered that sunlight could do for infants what their liver could not, and since the 1970s, jaundiced newborns in the hospital have been placed naked under fluorescent light until the level of bilirubin in their blood dropped to safe levels.

A baby receiving hospital phototherapy cannot spend much time with his or her mother since except for feeding, the baby must be under lights. A severely jaundiced baby may have to stay in the hospital after the mother is discharged.

The Biliblanket is a soft, flexible pad woven of optic fibers emitting lights in the therapeutic blue-violet range. A portable module with a quartz halogen lamp powers the light system. The pad is secured to the baby's back with a soft vest and can be used under clothing. The baby's eyes are not exposed to the light and so do not need to be shielded as they must be under fluorescent lights.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Biliblanket fiberoptic pad
Publication:Special Delivery
Date:Mar 22, 1991
Words:222
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