The smartphone camera as a potential method for transcutaneous bilirubin measurement

Sarah B. Munkholm*, Tobias Krøgholt, Finn Ebbesen, Pal B. Szecsi, Søren R. Kristensen

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftArtikelForskningpeer review


Background Hyperbilirubinemia is a common problem in neonates that can progress into kernicterus. Suspected neonatal hyperbilirubinemia is a common reason for contact with the healthcare system. The severity and management of jaundice are determined based on estimated bilirubin levels. However, no easy and accessible tool for self-assessing neonatal jaundice is currently available. Smartphones could potentially be transformed into a medical device that could be used by both patients and practitioners. Objective To investigate whether a digital image produced by a camera embedded on a smartphone can be a used as a screening tool for neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. Study design A total of 64 randomly selected newborns were enrolled. The inclusion criteria were healthy Caucasians, gestational age >35 weeks, age >24 hours and 14 days old, and parental informed consent. The exclusion criteria were facial skin lesions and light treatment. Images of the glabella were obtained with an iPhone 6 via i) directly applied pressure, ii) a dermatoscope, or iii) a dermatoscope equipped with a Wratten No. 11 filter. The red, green and blue colour intensities of each image were compared to bilirubin levels. Results Only the dermatoscope-acquired intensities of the green and blue channels were significantly correlated (p < 0.001) with bilirubin measurements (Pearson’s r: 0.59 and 0.48, respectively). For the green and blue channels, discrimination limits of 212 and 190, respectively, revealed a sensitivity and specificity of 100% and 62.5%, respectively, for green and 90.9% and 60%, respectively, for blue for a plasma bilirubin above 205 μmol/L. Conclusions The results of this study indicate that a smartphone equipped with a consistent light source in the form of a dermatoscope may be a simple screening tool for neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. However, the method requires some improvement before clinical application.

TidsskriftPloS one
Udgave nummer6
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2018


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