ILCOR recommend polyethylene bags/wraps and a delivery room temperature (DRT) temperature of ≥26oC for infants born at <28 weeks’ gestation (w).1 Admission temperatures (AT) <36.5oC are associated with increased mortality.2 We evaluated our thermoregulatory practice and explored factors contributing to hypothermia in newborn preterm infants.Methods
A five month prospective audit of all inborn infants <32 w admitted to a tertiary NICU.Results
We analysed 36 infants: mean (SD) birthweight 1085(358)g, gestational age 28(2)w. Mean maternal temperature was 36.8(0.5)oC but <36.5oC in 33% of mothers. Mean DRT was 24.7(1.4)oC; ≥26oC in 9%, <24oC in 30%. Infants born in the operating room had a significantly lower mean AT than infants born in labour ward (p = 0.03). Mean infant temperature on the resuscitaire (RT) was 36.8(0.5)oC but <36.5oC in 19% of infants. Of the 19%, mean RT was 36.1oC (range ‘unrecordable’ -36.3oC) and only two infants had a temperature >36.5oC within one hour of admission. Regression analysis showed a strong association (48%) between RT and AT. Mean AT was 36.8(0.7)oC; <36.5oC in 36%, >37.5oC in 14%. All infants <28 w and 42% of infants ≥28 w were stabilised in a wrap. Mean AT for those in wraps was 36.9(0.7)oC and 36.5(0.6)oC for those without wraps. In 41%, wraps were removed before checking AT.Conclusion
These data suggest that several factors affect AT, particularly DRT and RT. Improvements in clinical practice should include targeting DRTs >26oC and checking AT before removing wraps. A multidisciplinary approach may improve thermoregulation in newborn preterm infants.