Assessment of the efficiency of warming devices during neonatal surgery

Abstract

This study assessed the relative efficiency of different warming devices (surgical sheets covering the body and a tubegauze on the head, forced-air warming, warming mattress) commonly used to prevent body hypothermia during neonatal surgery. Dry heat losses were measured from a thermal manikin, which simulated a low-birth-weight neonate of 1,800 g. The manikin’s surface temperatures (35.8°C) corresponded to those of neonates nursed in closed incubators. Experiments were performed in a climatic chamber at an ambient temperature of 30°C, as commonly found in operating theatres. The supine manikin was naked or covered with operative sheets with a 5×5 cm aperture over the abdomen. Its head could be covered by a tubegauze. Additional warming was provided by conduction through a warming mattress (surface temperature, 39°C) and/or by convection (Bair Hugger, forced-air temperature 38°C). Covering the manikin with surgical sheets decreased the dry heat loss by 10.4 W. Additional forced-air warming was more efficient than the warming mattress to reduce the total dry heat loss (6.8 W vs 2.1 W). Heat losses were reduced by 7.9 W when combining the warming mattress and Bair Hugger. The heat loss from the head of the covered manikin was reduced from 4.5 W to 3.9 W when the head was covered with the tubegauze. Our data indicate that forced-air warming is more effective than conductive warming in preventing neonatal hypothermia during abdominal operations.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the Regional Council of Picardy and the French Ministry of Research who supported this study.

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Correspondence to Véronique Bach.

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Buisson, P., Bach, V., Elabbassi, E.B. et al. Assessment of the efficiency of warming devices during neonatal surgery. Eur J Appl Physiol 92, 694–697 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-004-1126-1

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Keywords

  • Manikin
  • Neonate
  • Heat exchange
  • Warming device
  • Surgery