Introduction: Hypothermia at birth is strongly associated with mortality and morbidity in pre-term infants.
Background: A local audit showed limited effectiveness of occlusive wrapping in preventing admission hypothermia in very pre-term infants. Self-heating acetate gel mattresses were introduced as a result to prevent hypothermia at birth in infants born at or below 28 weeks gestation.
Methods: A retrospective audit was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of self-heating acetate gel mattresses at resuscitation of infants born at or below 28 weeks to prevent hypothermia at birth. All infants born at or below 28 weeks gestation during 18 months before and 18 months after self-heating acetate gel mattresses were introduced during resuscitation were included.
Results: One hundred five babies were born when acetate gel mattresses were not used, and 124 were born during the period when they were. Four (3.3%) babies were hypothermic (temperature <36 degrees C) at admission when the mattresses were used compared to 21 (22.6%) babies who were hypothermic during the period it was not (p < 0.001). Hyperthermia (temperature >37 degrees C) rose from 30.1% prior to use of gel mattresses to 49.6% when they were used (p = 0.004).
Conclusions: Self-heating acetate gel mattresses are highly effective in reducing admission hypothermia in infants born at or below 28 weeks gestation. The use of these mattresses is associated with a significant increase in hyperthermia.