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Phototherapy for newborns: How Bilitron can be used to treat jaundice

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Phototherapy in newborns is a quite common procedure in Brazilian maternity wards. The practice is used for babies born with “yellowish” skin. According to the Sociedade Brasileira de Pediatria (SBP) [Brazilian Pediatrics Society], jaundice – which causes this tonality  – affects up to 80% of newborns in the first week of life,  more directly influencing those born prematurely.

The most effective treatment used is phototherapy, popularly known as a light bath. The most common method is for babies to remain in the hospital to be treated with specific equipment, usually in an incubator.

New technologies now allow the development of much smaller, more efficient and portable products, allowing the treatment to continue in other environments and even at home.  One of these solutions is the Bilitron, a phototherapy device from the Fanem company. 

Jaundice is a disease caused by a high concentration of bilirubin in the blood stream, which results in a condition called hyperbilirubinemia. Bilirubin is a yellowish substance formed when hemoglobin decomposes during the renovation of red blood cells.

Once present in the bloodstream, bilirubin is transported to the liver, where it is excreted with bile and later reaches the small intestine through the bile ducts. The excess is then eliminated in the feces and urine.

People who suffer from jaundice have difficulty processing and excreting bilirubin through the liver and bile ducts. For this reason, it concentrates in the blood, giving the skin and eyes a yellowish tone.

How is infant jaundice treated?

The most effective treatment for infant jaundice is phototherapy.  Equipment emits a clear light (blue light is considered the most effective) that is capable of breaking the excess bilirubin in the bloodstream, so that it is eliminated more quickly by the organism.

The treatment is simple: the newborn must be placed with only a diaper on the phototherapy equipment, exposing as much skin as possible to the light with occasional movements of position. The time of treatment with phototherapy in newborns varies with the response of each patient and the consequent reduction of the levels of bilirubin in the blood.

Bilitron: the phototherapy equipment for newborns that has innovated treatment of infant jaundice

At the request of the Brazilian based company Fanem, a multinational in the neonatology sector that also manufactures laboratory products, CERTI worked on the development of a new generation of Bilitron phototherapy equipment. 

To improve this line of products, Fanem and CERTI organized a joint project with support under the EmbrapII program, to improve the uniformity of light and variable adjustment of the focus of lighting.

Greater sustainability was also sought, by using Super LED technology, with low energy consumption and the use of recyclable materials without the use of mercury and other heavy metals in the product. 

Using techniques for improving the thermal design, the project was able to make viable the removal of cooling fans in the device, decreasing noise that is disturbing to babies and the healthcare staff. In addition to being quieter, the equipment is safer, because dust and germs no longer accumulate within the light fixture.

Therefore, the great advantage in the new Bilitron technology is its versatility – given that it can be used in the incubator or in a crib – and the reduced noise, which makes it more practical and better integrated to hospital administration, than conventional treatment conducted in hospitals and maternity wards.Would you like to know more about the project? Contact CERTI !

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