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Birth and Transfer in newborns : a product to prevent heat loss

Within the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health project, EFCNI supports the elaboration of standards improving the care of premature infants. As bronze partner of EFCNI, Vygon wanted to broadcast the message about prematurity and the importance of care for newborns.

As March is dedicated to Birth and Transfer topic, the interview with Dr Dietmar Schlembach (Berlin) and Pr Umberto Simeoni (Lausanne) is the opportunity to remind that the first few minutes after birth are crucial; during transportation, it is critical to stabilize the baby. Without proper protection, life-threatening hypothermia may develop. A baby’s body temperature can drop by at least 2-4°C during the first 10 to 20 minutes of life. For every 1°C fall in temperature, the risk of mortality increases by 28%. Premature babies are even more susceptible to hypothermia; in fact more than 56% of premature babies weighing less than 750g have significant hypothermia upon admission to the neonatal intensive care unit[1].

Hypothermia affects newborn babies worldwide. It is present in all climates and can occur regardless of the weight and gestational age of the newborn. Hypothermia is one of the main risk factors for morbidity and mortality in the newborn population.

Thermal balance is essential for cardiorespiratory development in newborn babies. At birth, multiple factors may cause the infant’s body temperature to fall: the evaporation of amniotic fluid, drafts or simply contact with a cold surface. The urgent imperative to warm up therefore consumes all the available energy resources of the newborn in just a few moments, sometimes with serious long-term consequences, particularly in premature babies.

To fight hypothermia during transportation, polyethylene has been proven to be effective[2]. Medical devices that prevent hypothermia need to be intuitive, easy to use in an ambulance, fully transparent to allow for monitoring of the baby’s skin color, movements, and well-being. They are designed to improve observation, stabilization, handling and resuscitation of the infant. Because Vygon values life, the company developed a product dedicated to the heat loss prevention.

 


[1] Source: OMS, 1997

[2] Effect of polyethylene occlusive skin wrapping on heat loss in very low birth weight infants at delivery: a randomized trial. Vohra S et al. J Pediatr. 1999 May;134(5):54 & Heat Loss Prevention (HeLP) in the delivery room: A randomized controlled trial of polyethylene occlusive skin wrapping in very preterm infants. Vohra S et al. J Pediatr. 2004 Dec;145(6):750-3.