Effect of phototherapy on airborne concentrations of volatile organic compounds found in neonatal incubators

M. Eppler, R. Donovan, L. Schweig, D.R. Cortes, P. Prazad, A. Gulati, B. Puppala∗ | JNPM 2012;

Abstract. Objective: To evaluate the effect of phototherapy on volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions inside neonatal incubators during standard operational settings. Study design: Air samples were collected from six unoccupied incubators during four standard operational settings and after adding phototherapy. Quantitative analyses were performed using a Tekmar AutoCan Preconcentrator interfaced to an Agilent 6890 Gas Chromatograph with a 5975 Mass Spectrometer. Result: TwoVOCs, 2-heptanone and n-butyl acetate, were identified as elevated and mean concentrations increased further with temperature and addition of humidity (4.3±0.93 to 39.66±7.66 ppb [p = 0.001] and 0.68±0.27 to 7.23±1.05 ppb [p≤0.001]; respectively). However, phototherapy did not significantly alter VOC concentrations inside the incubator. Conclusion: The use of phototherapy did not appear to influence 2-heptanone and n-butyl acetate concentrations or generate any new emissions within the neonatal incubator. This study confirmed the effect of temperature and humidity on 2-heptanone and n-butyl acetate, using authentic analytical standards.

*Corresponding Author: 

Dr. Bhagya L. Puppala, Advocate Lutheran General Children’s Hospital, 1775 Dempster Street, Park Ridge, IL 60068, USA. Tel.: +1 847 723 5313; Fax: +1 847 723 2338; E-mail: bhagya.puppala-md@advocatehealth.com.