The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a thermal mattress in stabilizing and maintaining body temperature during the transport of newborns who weigh less than 1,500 g. We compared 91 infants who were transported without a thermal mattress from April 1995 to March 1996 with 100 infants who were transported with the use of a transport thermal mattress (TTM) from April 1998 to October 1999. Temperature data were collected on arrival to the referring hospital, on departure from the referring hospital, and on arrival to the tertiary neonatal intensive care unit. The findings support that, over time, infants who were transported on a TTM had a greater increase or greater stability in body temperature, in comparison with infants who were not transported on a TTM (t = 5.1, p <.001). The data also supported that infants on a TTM maintained body temperature during stabilization and transport (F = 12.33, p =.001) better than the no mattress group did (F = 3.6, p =.061). Use of the TTM in the prevention of hypothermia in unstable environmental conditions can be extended to other areas within the hospital when thermoregulation of the premature infant is a concern, especially that of very low-birth weight infants. However, hyperthermia may also be a concern; body temperature should be monitored to watch for it.
Copyright 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company