Irradiance levels of phototherapy devices: a national study in Dutch neonatal intensive care units

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The objective of this study is to determine whether irradiance levels of phototherapy (PT) devices in Dutch neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) increased between 2008 and 2013.


Irradiance of all types of PT devices, used in combination with incubators, was measured with a Dale 40 Radiometer (Fluke Biomedical, Everett, WA, USA) in all 10 Dutch NICUs.


Irradiance increased in seven NICUs. Median (range) irradiance increased from 9.7 (4.3-32.6) to 16.4 (6.8-41) μW cm-2 nm-1 for 24 overhead devices (P = 0.004) and from 6.8 (0.8-15.6) to 22.3 (1.1-36.3) μW cm-2 nm-1 for 12 underneath devices (P = 0.014). Five light-emitting diode (LED)-based devices were used in 2013 and one in 2008. The mean distance between overhead PT device and infant decreased by ˜ 9 cm (P < 0.001). Significantly more devices delivered minimal (10 μW cm-2 nm-1) recommended irradiance levels (80 vs ˜ 45%; P = 0.002).


Irradiance of PT devices still varies, but has markedly improved since 2008 due to shorter distances between PT device and infant, and introduction of better performing LED-based devices.

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