Use of reflective materials during phototherapy for newborn infants with unconjugated hyperbilirubinaemia.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 07 01; 7:CD012011.CD
Phototherapy is a well-established effective therapy for treating babies with significant neonatal jaundice. Studies have shown that increasing light intensity will increase its efficiency. A potentially inexpensive and easy way of increasing the intensity of light on the body of the infant may be to hang reflective materials from the sides of phototherapy units.
To assess the effects of reflective materials in combination with phototherapy compared with phototherapy alone for unconjugated hyperbilirubinaemia in neonates.
We used the standard search strategy of Cochrane Neonatal to search the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; 2019, Issue 11), in the Cochrane Library; Ovid MEDLINE(R) and Epub Ahead of Print, In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, Daily and Versions(R); and the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), on 1 November 2019. We also searched clinical trials databases and the reference lists of retrieved articles for randomised controlled trials and quasi-randomised trials.
We included randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials if the participants, who were term or preterm infants, received phototherapy with curtains made of reflective materials of any type in the treatment arm, and if those in the comparison arm received similar phototherapy without curtains or other intensified phototherapy, such as a double bank of lights.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane. We used the GRADE approach to assess the certainty of evidence.
Of 15 studies identified, we included 12 (1288 babies) in the review - 11 comparing phototherapy with reflective materials and phototherapy alone, and one comparing a single phototherapy light bank with reflective materials with double phototherapy. All reflective materials consisted of curtains on three or four sides of the cot and were made of white plastic (five studies), white linen (two studies), or aluminium (three studies); materials were not specified in two studies. Only 11 studies (10 comparing reflective materials versus none and one comparing reflective curtains and a single bank of lights with a double (above and below) phototherapy unit) provided sufficient data to be included in the meta-analysis. Two excluded studies used the reflective materials in a way that did not meet our inclusion criteria, and we excluded one study because it compared four different phototherapy interventions not including reflective materials. The risk of bias of included studies was generally low, but all studies had high risk of performance bias due to lack of blinding of the intervention. Three studies (281 participants) reported a decline in serum bilirubin (SB) (μmol/L) at four to eight hours (mean difference (MD) -14.61, 95% confidence interval (CI) -19.80 to -9.42; I² = 57%; moderate-certainty evidence). Nine studies (893 participants) reported a decline in SB over 24 hours and showed a faster decline in SB in the intervention group, but heterogeneity (I² = 97%) was too substantial to permit a meaningful estimate of the actual effect size (very low-certainty evidence). Subgroup analysis by type of reflective material used did not explain the heterogeneity. Exchange transfusion was reported by two studies; both reported none in either group. Four studies (466 participants) reported the mean duration of phototherapy, and in each of these studies, it was reduced in the intervention group but there was substantial heterogeneity (I² = 88%), precluding meaningful meta-analysis of data. The only two studies that reported the mean duration of hospital stay in hours showed a meaningful reduction (MD -41.08, 95% CI -45.92 to -36.25; I² = 0; moderate-certainty evidence). No studies reported costs of the intervention, parental or medical staff satisfaction, breastfeeding outcomes, or neurodevelopmental follow-up. The only study that compared use of curtains with double phototherapy reported similar results for both groups. Studies that monitored adverse events did not report increased adverse events related to the use of curtains, including acute life-threatening events, but other rarer side effects could not be excluded.