Infrared thermography for detailed registration of thermoregulation in premature infants

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To evaluate skin temperature by using different positions with non-contact infrared thermography (IRT) in multiple body areas of preterm infants for detailed information about temperature regulation and distribution.


The temperature of ten premature infants (median: 27 weeks; age 36 days; weight 1322 g) was determined via IRT (leg, back, arm, head, upper abdomen; diameter 1 cm, scale 0.00∘C), and comparison was made with two conventional sensors. There were measurements of 10 min each: first incubator phase (I1), standardized skin-to-skin care (SSC) at the beginning (SSC1), after 90 min (SSC2), and then there was a second incubator phase (I2).


From I1 to SSC1, patients cooled down (max. 0.62∘C; both methods). From SSC1 to SSC2 temperature on central areas (abdomen, back) was maintained but rose distinctively on the head and leg (P<0.05). In the incubator (I2), temperature niveau in all IRT-areas was significantly lower than before SSC.


Via IRT, it is possible to detect fluctuations in temperature of premature infants. The cooling in I2 after SSC should be taken into account before routine daily care.

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