Published: 2018-05-25

Effect of phototherapy on serum calcium levels in neonates receiving phototherapy for neonatal jaundice

Sumit Goyal, Anshuman Srivastava, Prasun Bhattacharjee, Isha Goyal, Khushbu Malhotra


Background: To study the occurrence of hypocalcaemia in neonates with physiological unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia after 48 hours of phototherapy or at the end of phototherapy, in case duration of phototherapy was less than 48 hours.

Methods: This prospective study was conducted on 100 term neonates (61 males and 39 females) admitted to Neonatal intensive care unit of Teerthankar Mahaveer Medical College, Moradabad with unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia and requiring phototherapy. Total Serum bilirubin levels and serum calcium levels were checked before and after phototherapy. Neonates were assessed for clinical features of hypocalcemia i.e. jitteriness, irritability/excitability, lethargy and convulsions.

Results: After phototherapy, there was hypocalcemia in 35.0% neonates. The difference between pre and post phototherapy serum calcium levels were found to be statistically significant (p <0.001). 2.86% of neonates developed jitteriness among those who had hypocalcemia. Hypocalcemia was more in subjects who received phototherapy for longer duration.

Conclusions: Hypocalcaemia is a common complication of phototherapy. Therefore, calcium supplementation should be done in all neonates undergoing phototherapy.


Hyperbilirubinemia, Hypocalcemia, Phototherapy, Term neonates

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