Published: 2017-08-26

Post phototherapy bilirubin rebound: incidence and risk factors

Richa Soni, Shayam L. Kaushik, Rajni Kaushik, Parveen Bhardwaj, S. Mohabey


Background: Rebound hyperbilirubinemia may occur after cessation of phototherapy in new-borns in certain high-risk situations. However, data regarding the phenomenon of bilirubin rebound is lacking from India. Aim was to study the incidence and associated risk factors of post phototherapy rebound hyperbilirubinemia.

Methods: The study subjects included all neonates (gestation >34 weeks) admitted to newborn unit who required phototherapy for hyperbilirubinemia. Unit protocol based on American academy of pediatrics (AAP) guidelines were used to start and stop phototherapy. Rebound bilirubin was measured 24±6 hours after stopping phototherapy. Significant bilirubin rebound (SBR) was defined as post phototherapy bilirubin level needing reinstitution of phototherapy. The risk factors associated with significant rebound were studied.

Results: Out of total 509 neonates who received phototherapy due to hyperbilirubinemia, 63 (12%) had significant bilirubin rebound requiring reinstitution of phototherapy. There was significant risk for rebound in neonates who had prematurity (p <0.01), ABO (<0.001) and Rh incompatibility (p<0.005) with mother, G6PD deficiency (p < 0.001) and onset of hyperbilirubinemia less than 72 hours of postnatal age (p< 0.001). However, neonates with extravasations of blood, polycythaemia, sepsis, other causes of haemolysis and idiopathic group did not have significant risk of developing rebound.

Conclusions: Post phototherapy bilirubin estimation and follow up should be ensured in high-risk neonates.


Hyperbilirubinemia, Phototherapy, Rebound

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