Keeping babies warm: comparing conductive thermal mattress to current standard of care in low-resource settings
External thermal support is critical for premature or ill infants. Incubators are the gold standard for long-term support and have been adopted successfully in many countries. In resource-limited settings, alternatives such as radiant warmers and blankets are often used as standard of care (SoC) when infants are not otherwise in Kangaroo Mother Care (skin-to-skin contact).
In this pilot study, researchers evaluated the feasibility of a conductive thermal mattress (CTM) as a low-cost warmer, and its effectiveness as a non-inferior alternative to other low-cost methods that are in common use for low birth-weight infants in resource-limited settings.
The study equally randomized 160 infants to CTM or SoC. The babies in the CTM group had a higher body temperature compared with those in the SoC group. Researchers concluded that short-term use of CTM compared with radiant warmers and other modes of warming is not inferior to SoC and is effective in maintaining body temperature. They also concluded that an extended multi-national trial, preferably one that demonstrates longer-term temperature regulation, is warranted.