Reducing Hypothermia in Preterm Infants Following Delivery
BACKGROUND: Moderate hypothermia (temperature <36°C) at birth is common in premature infants and is associated with increased mortality and morbidity.
METHODS: A multidisciplinary practice plan was implemented to determine in premature infants <35 weeks old whether a multifaceted approach would reduce the number of inborn infants with an admitting axillary temperature <36°C by 20% without increasing exposure to a temperature >37.5°C. The plan included use of occlusive wrap a transwarmer mattress and cap for all infants and maintaining an operating room temperature between 21°C and 23°C. Data were obtained at baseline (n = 66), during phasing in (n = 102), and at full implementation (n = 193).
RESULTS: Infant axillary temperature in the delivery room (DR) increased from 36.1°C ± 0.6°C to 36.2°C ± 0.6°C to 36.6°C ± 0.6°C (P < .001), and admitting temperature increased from 36.0°C ± 0.8°C to 36.3°C ± 0.6°C to 36.7°C ± 0.5°C at baseline, phasing in, and full implementation, respectively (P < .001). The number of infants with temperature <36°C decreased from 55% to 6.2% at baseline versus full implementation (P < .001), and intubation at 24 hours decreased from 39% to 17.6% (P = .005). There was no increase in the number of infants with a temperature >37.5°C over time. The use of occlusive wrap, mattress, and cap increased from 33% to 88% at baseline versus full implementation. Control charts showed significant improvement in DR ambient temperature at baseline versus full implementation.
CONCLUSIONS: The practice plan was associated with a significant increase in DR and admitting axillary infant temperatures and a corresponding decrease in the number of infants with moderate hypothermia. There was an associated reduction in intubation at 24 hours. These positive findings reflect increased compliance with the practice plan.
- Accepted December 9, 2013.
- Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics