Hypocalcemia in Jaundiced Neonates Receiving Phototherapy
Background: Hyperbilirubinemia is a common problem in neonates. Phototherapy and exchange transfusion are the primary treatment modalities. Less known, but one of the potential complications of phototherapy is hypocalcemia. Most of the neonates with hypocalcemia are asymptomatic. Though asymptomatic, treatment should be initiated immediately when serum calcium level is reduced. This study was conducted to detect the incidence of hypocalcemia in jaundiced neonates receiving phototherapy.
Methods: It is a hospital-based cross-sectional study conducted from May 2020 to December 2020 in the neonatal intensive care unit of Nepal Medical College Teaching Hospital. A total of 128 full-term neonates with jaundice and a normal serum calcium level before initiating phototherapy were enrolled in the study. Serum calcium level was measured before starting conventional phototherapy and after 48 hours of continuous phototherapy.
Results: Hyperbilirubinemia was present in 23.3% of neonates admitted to the neonatal unit. Hypocalcemia was seen in 26 (20.3%) of term jaundiced neonates receiving phototherapy. Signs of hypocalcemia were present only in 3 (2.3%) neonates.
Conclusions: Hypocalcemia is a common complication of phototherapy. Serum calcium levels should be monitored in all the full-term neonates receiving phototherapy.
Keywords: Hyperbilirubinemia; hypocalcemia; phototherapy
Copyright (c) 2021 Sabina Shrestha, Sangita Dhungana, Sujit Shrestha, Gentle Shrestha, Prayash Kakshapati
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