Improved fluid management utilizing humidified incubators in extremely low birth weight infants

J Perinatol. 2001 Oct-Nov;21(7):438-43. doi: 10.1038/


Objective: To compare fluid and electrolyte management in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants nursed in humidified versus nonhumidified incubators.

Study design: Setting--tertiary intensive care nursery. Subjects--all infants with birth weight < 1000 g admitted 1/95 to 1/99 who were treated with incubators and survived for > 96 hours (N = 155). Intervention--retrospective comparison of daily weights, fluid intakes, urine outputs, and serum electrolytes between group 1 (n = 70, nonhumidified incubators, born 1/95 to 1/97) and group 2 (n = 85, humidified incubators, born 1/97 to 1/99) over the first 4 days after birth.

Results: Despite similar daily weight losses between groups, group 1 infants received higher fluid intakes, had lower urine outputs, and had a higher incidence of hypernatremia, hyperkalemia, and azotemia (p < 0.05). Although no differences in mortality or the incidence of patent ductus arteriosus, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, or the overall rate of nosocomial infections were observed, the proportion of gram-negative isolates increased significantly (62%, p < 0.05) following the introduction of humidified incubators.

Conclusions: ELBW weight infants nursed in humidified incubators have lower fluid requirements, improved electrolyte balance, and higher urine outputs during the first 4 days after birth compared to those nursed in nonhumidified incubators.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / physiopathology
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / prevention & control
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / physiopathology
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Humidity*
  • Incubators, Infant*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight / growth & development
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight / physiology*
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance / physiopathology*
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance / therapy*
  • Weight Gain / physiology