Safety Devices For Neonatal Intensive Care

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Three relatively simple devices for improving safety in neonatal intensive care are described. When umbilical artery catheters are used, an inexpensive pressure switch is utilized to detect abnormally low pressures associated with catheter withdrawal or excessive fluid leakage from the catheter system. A capacitive, intravenous-line air bubble detector, consisting of a section of the intravenous line as the dielectric of a capacitor, is used to alert the clinical staff when air bubbles pass between the capacitor plates. An electronic temperature controller maintains the temperature of neonatal breathing gases to avoid temperature variations which occur with presently used techniques. These are relatively simple and inexpensive devices which can be fabricated by most hospital clinical engineering services.

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