Studies have shown improved survival of newborn infants maintained in the thermoneutral range. The concept of an incubator with additional insulation, a double plexiglass wall, is appealing for very low birth weight infants as it may help to provide a thermoneutral environment.
To assess the effects of double walled incubator versus a single wall incubator on insensible water loss, rate of oxygen consumption, episodes of hypothermia, time to regain birth weight, duration of hospitalization and infant mortality in premature infants.
The standard search strategy of the Cochrane Neonatal Review Group was used. This included searches of electronic databases: Oxford Database of Perinatal Trials, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL, The Cochrane Library, Issue 1, 2006), MEDLINE (1966 - 2006), EMBASE, previous reviews including cross references, abstracts, conference and symposia proceedings, expert informants in all published languages, and CINAHL (1982 - 2006).
Only studies using random or quasi-random methods of allocation were considered for this review. Eligible studies assessed at least one of the outcome variables identified as important to this topic.
Independent data extraction and quality assessment of included trials was conducted by the review authors. Data were analyzed using generic inverse variance methodology and weighted mean difference (WMD). Results are presented with 95% confidence intervals. Meta-analysis was undertaken using a fixed effect model.
Three studies met the criteria. Four other studies were excluded, as they did not compare double versus single wall incubators (details of the studies are given in the included and excluded studies section). Double wall incubators have the advantage of decreasing heat loss, decreasing heat production and decreasing radiant heat loss when compared to single wall incubators. There is also the advantage of reduced oxygen consumption. A minimal increase in conductive heat loss was noted when compared to single wall incubators. All of these effects are small and do not support the proposition that double wall incubators have a beneficial effect on long term outcomes including mortality or the duration of hospitalization.
Although it appears that caring for extremely small infants in double wall incubators may theoretically result in shorter hospitalization and may have metabolic advantages, this review was unable to find any data in the literature to support or refute this hypothesis. The studies do not provide any evidence that the small decrease in heat loss improves clinical outcome. Therefore, the available data is insufficient to directly guide clinical practice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) neonates require regular nursing procedures with frequent opening of the incubator resulting in a decrease in incubator air temperature. This study was designed to assess changes in the thermal status of VLBW neonates according to the type of nursing care and incubator openings.
Thirty-one VLBW neonates (mean gestational age: 28.7 ± 0.3 weeks of gestation) were included. Over a 10-day period, each opening of the incubator was recorded together with details about caregiving. Body temperature was recorded continuously, and door opening and closing events were recorded by a video camera.
This study analysed 1,798 caregiving procedures with mean durations ranging from 6.2 ± 2.1 to 88.5 ± 33.4 min. Abdominal skin temperature decreased by up to 1.08°C/h for procedures such as tracheal intubation (p < 0.01). The temperature decrease was strongly correlated with the type of procedure (p < 0.01), incubator opening (p < 0.01) and procedure duration (p < 0.01). The procedure duration accounted for only 10% of the abdominal skin temperature change (p < 0.01).
For VLBW neonates nursed in skin temperature servo-control incubators, the decrease in abdominal skin temperature during caregiving was correlated with the type of procedure, incubator opening modalities and procedure duration. These parameters should be considered to optimize the thermal management of VLBW neonates.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: The random-effects (RE) model is the standard choice for meta-analysis in the presence of heterogeneity, and the standard RE method is the DerSimonian and Laird (DSL) approach, where the degree of heterogeneity is estimated using a moment-estimator. The DSL approach does not take into account the variability of the estimated heterogeneity variance in the estimation of Cochran's Q. Biggerstaff and Jackson derived the exact cumulative distribution function (CDF) of Q to account for the variability of τ^². Objectives: The first objective is to show that the explicit numerical computation of the density function of Cochran's Q is not required. The second objective is to develop an R package with the possibility to easily calculate the classical RE method and the new exact RE method. Methods: The novel approach was validated in extensive simulation studies. The different approaches used in the simulation studies, including the exact weights RE meta-analysis, the I² and τ² estimates together with their confidence intervals were implemented in the R package metaxa. Results: The comparison with the classical DSL method showed that the exact weights RE meta-analysis kept the nominal type I error level better and that it had greater power in case of many small studies and a single large study. The Hedges RE approach had inflated type I error levels. Another advantage of the exact weights RE meta-analysis is that an exact confidence interval for τ² is readily available. The exact weights RE approach had greater power in case of few studies, while the restricted maximum likelihood (REML) approach was superior in case of a large number of studies. Differences between the exact weights RE meta-analysis and the DSL approach were observed in the re-analysis of real data sets. Application of the exact weights RE meta-analysis, REML, and the DSL approach to real data sets showed that conclusions between these methods differed. Conclusions: The simplification does not require the calculation of the density of Cochran's Q, but only the calculation of the cumulative distribution function, while the previous approach required the computation of both the density and the cumulative distribution function. It thus reduces computation time, improves numerical stability, and reduces the approximation error in meta-analysis. The different approaches, including the exact weights RE meta-analysis, the I² and τ² estimates together with their confidence intervals are available in the R package metaxa, which can be used in applications.
Methods of Information in Medicine 12/2013; 53(1). DOI:10.3414/ME13-01-0073 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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