Project Details

Early Career

Status: Funded - Open

Smart-Phone Phototherapy Irradiance Meter for Neonatal Jaundice

Katherine Satrom, MD


BACKGROUND: Neonatal jaundice is a common problem, caused by elevated unconjugated bilirubin (UCB) levels, which when severe can lead to encephalopathy and a lifetime of devastating neurological impairments including cerebral palsy and deafness. Treatment for jaundice is phototherapy (PT), however, several studies have found that PT often delivers sub-therapeutic irradiance (quantified intensity of light over a specific wavelength) in both high-income (HICs) and low-to-middle income countries (LMICs).

GAP: The ability to accurately measure irradiance of PT units is essential for delivering effective PT. Validation of PT irradiance is currently not feasible in LMIC areas, due to the exorbitant cost of currently available measurement devices (>$2500 + annual calibration fees), resulting in reduced standards of care.

HYPOTHESIS: We hypothesize that a portable, low-cost PT irradiance measuring tool can be created by adoption of lens-filtration and smart phone technology that will result in an accurate, ergonomic, and accessible measuring device that will increase the quality of neonatal PT.

METHODS: This study will first design and develop a smart-phone based irradiance meter and app, with its accuracy first verified against two hospital-grade meters in the laboratory, and then its feasibility tested in the clinical setting first at a hospital site in Minnesota and then at a University Hospital site in Nigeria.

RESULTS: Pending

IMPACT: Improving the ability to accurately measure irradiance of PT units will improve the quality of PT and thus improve outcomes for neonates affected by severe neonatal jaundice.