Project Details

E.W. "Al" Thrasher

Status: Funded - Open

Filtered sunlight phototherapy to treat significant jaundice: Safety and efficacy in neonates

Tina Slusher, M.D.


BACKGROUND: Severe newborn jaundice and its progression to acute bilirubin encephalopathy (ABE) and kernicterus is a leading, yet preventable, cause of newborn deaths and childhood disabilities in Nigeria and other low-middle income countries. Conventional (artificial) light phototherapy (CPT), the standard treatment for jaundice, is often not affordable or available due to lack of or erratic power in these countries.

GAP: While filtered sunlight phototherapy (FS-PT) has been shown to be safe and efficacious in the treatment of mild-moderate jaundice it’s safety and efficacy is yet to be demonstrated in the treatment of serious newborn jaundice.

HYPOTHESIS: We hypothesize that FS-PT will be safe and no less efficacious than CPT in the treatment of infants with serious (significant/severe) newborn jaundice.

METHODS: We plan to enroll 240 newborns with significant/severe jaundice from 3 hospitals in Nigeria. Eligible enrolled infants born or admitted to these hospitals for significant/severe newborn jaundice will be screened and randomized to either FS-PT or CPT studying both safety and efficacy per pre-determined criteria.

RESULTS: We have previously shown that FS-PT is no less efficacious than conventional phototherapy for the treatment of mild-moderate jaundice.

IMPACT: Our novel, yet practical, inexpensive and simple idea of using filtered sunlight to deliver safe, efficacious and affordable treatment strategy as alternative PT in underserved areas, has prospects for its widespread application in the management of severe neonatal jaundice even in remote tropical regions. The overriding intension of many stakeholders to make Kernicterus and its attendant disabilities a ‘never event’ among vulnerable children, in these areas, is now achievable with FS-PT.

Jaundice, Global Health, Prospective Cohort, Human

Supervising Institution:
Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation

Project Location:
United States, Nigeria, Nigeria

Award Amount: