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HERDIN Record #: R10-NMMC-17031411555733 Submitted: 14 March 2017 Modified: 26 October 2018

Effectiveness of a modified water container used as an incubator in the thermoregulation of preterm infants born in a resource-poor setting: a randomized controlled trial.

Mabelle F. Antonio,
Cindy C. Llego

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BACKGROUND: Hypothermia contributes to high morbidity and mortality in premature infants. However, the incubator which is the standard of thermoregulatory care in the neonatal intensive care unit is often not available in economically-disadvantaged settings. Other heat preservation interventions such as Kangaroo Mother Care and plastic wraps are helpful but have their limitations. There is still a need for low-cost alternatives to the incubator that can readily be available in all settings.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of a modified 5- gallon plastic water container in the thermoregulation of preterm infants during the first 24 hours of life.

RESEARCH DESIGN: Open, randomized controlled trial

METHODS: Stable preterm neonates with gestational age of 32-34 weeks and weighing 1-2 kg were enrolled in the study after parental consent was obtained. Those randomized to the treatment group were given usual care for preterm neonates and covered with a 5-gallon plastic water container. Neonates in the control group were given only the usual care for thermoregulation.  Vital signs, temperature and oxygen saturation were measured every 2 hours for 24 hours.

RESULTS: The incidence of hypothermia was significantly lower at 14.7% in the treatment group (n=34) compared to 52.9% in the control group (n=27). The difference in the overall mean temperatures between the two groups was statistically significant at 36.60oC (95% CI 36.35-36.68oC) vs. 36.86oC (95% CI 36.80-36.92oC, p-value 0.00). Mean time to reach temperature of 36.5 oC was 2.52 hours in the treatment group compared to 4.59 hours in the control group.

CONCLUSION: The use of a modified water container was effective in regulating the body temperature of preterm neonates in this study. This improvised incubator is a low-cost, easily reproducible and easily available intervention that can potentially be used in areas where a proper incubator is not available.



Publication Type
Publication Sub Type
Journal Article, Original
Northern Mindanao Medical Journal
Biennial (every 2 years)
Publication Date
January-June 2017

Publication Type
Research Project
May 1-December 31, 2013
LocationLocation CodeAvailable FormatAvailability
Professional Education and Training Office, Northern Mindanao Medical Center Fulltext Print Format
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