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Maintaining normothermia immediately after birth in preterm infants <34 weeks' gestation

Aim: To evaluate delivery room (DR) interventions to prevent hypothermia and improve outcomes in preterm newborn infants < 34 weeks' gestation.

Methods: Medline, Embase, CINAHL and CENTRAL were searched till 22nd July 2022. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), non-RCTs and quality improvement studies were considered. A random effects meta-analysis was performed, and the certainty of evidence was evaluated using GRADE guidelines.

Results: DR temperature of ≥ 23°C compared to standard care improved temperature outcomes without an increased risk of hyperthermia (low certainty), whereas radiant warmer in servo mode compared to manual mode decreased mean body temperature (MBT) (moderate certainty). Use of a plastic bag or wrap (PBW) improved normothermia (low certainty), but with an increased risk of hyperthermia (moderate certainty). Plastic cap improved normothermia (moderate certainty) and when combined with PBW improved MBT (low certainty). Use of a cloth cap decreased moderate hypothermia (low certainty). Though thermal mattress (TM) improved MBT, it increased risk of hyperthermia (low certainty). Heated-humidified gases (HHG) for resuscitation decreased the risk of moderate hypothermia and severe intraventricular hemorrhage (very low to low certainty). None of the interventions was shown to improve survival, but sample sizes were insufficient.

Conclusions: DR temperature of ≥ 23°C, radiant warmer in manual mode, use of a PBW and a head covering is suggested for preterm newborn infants < 34 weeks' gestation. HHG and TM could be considered in addition to PBW provided resources allow, in settings where hypothermia incidence is high. Careful monitoring to avoid hyperthermia is needed.


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