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Radiant Warmers Versus Incubators For Regulating Body Temperature In Newborn Infants

Not enough evidence to show the effects of radiant warmers versus incubators for regulating body temperature in newborn babies.

Low birthweight babies have a higher chance of survival if they are kept warm. Incubators have been used for some time to maintain body temperature. More recently, open cots with an overhead radiant warmer have also been used for babies needing intensive care.
The review of trials found that radiant warmers increase water loss in low birthweight babies in the newborn period when compared to incubators and that this water loss needs to be taken into account when daily fluid requirements are calculated. However, there was not enough information available for this review to enable assessment of other important effects of radiant warmers. Therefore, at the present time, it is not clear which method of maintaining body temperature is best for newborn babies - radiant warmers or incubators. More research is necessary.

Radiant warmers result in increased IWL compared to incubators. This needs to be taken into account when calculating daily fluid requirements. The results of this review do not provide sufficient evidence concerning effects on important outcomes to guide clinical practice. Further randomised controlled trials are required to assess the effects of radiant warmers versus incubators in neonatal care on important short and long term outcomes, with particular attention to extremely low birthweight infants in the early neonatal period.

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