The Temperature Management of Premature Infants
Some research shows that poor control of body core temperature is associated with increased morbidity and mortality rate in preterm infants. Due to lower gestational age at birth, the premature babies bodily functions are not yet fully developed, they are fragile; some small common problems may cause negative effects on them.
Premature infants are more likely to get the hypothermia because of their low weight and relative lack of subcutaneous fat, especially in the first three hours of life.
A reliable data shows that:
Normothermia of skin temperature is 36.5°C to 37.5°C.
Hyperthermia of skin temperature is >37.5°C.
Hypothermia of skin temperature is <36.5°C.
(Mild hypothermia: 36.0°C to 36.4°C, moderate hypothermia: 34.0 to 35.9°C and severe hypothermia: <34.0°C)
And the other credible data show that about 93% of the preterm infant’s hypothermia occurred in the first three hours, of which 25% hypothermia is mild, and 48% hypothermia is moderate. Once the baby get moderate hypothermia, it is known to increase the risk for arrhythmia, angina pectoris and IVH( intraventricular hemorrhage).
One point attention: Body cavity and axillary are the common measured area in all newborn; the skin temperature/esophageal temperature can be continuous measured by a disposable temperature probe every minute.
In conclusion, neonatologist and paramedic should pay more attention on the temperature management of premature infants and try to take all positive measure to prevent hypothermia.