Objectives To audit the incidence of hypothermia at admission (temperature<36°C) to the NICU after the introduction of polythene bags at delivery in babies born below 30 weeks in a large tertiary centre.
Methods All infants born below 30 weeks gestation for 2 years before (period 1) and 2 years after (period 2) the introduction of polythene bags were included.
Results 253 babies with admission temperatures documented were included in the audit (72 born in period 1 and 181 in period 2). There was a reduction in incidence of hypothermia between the two periods (figure 1). Subgroup analysis revealed that the reduction was mainly in the babies born after 28 weeks gestation with a non-significant reduction in the babies born before 28 weeks (figure 2).
Polythene bags are effective in the reduction of admission hypothermia in infants born at gestations below 30 weeks. In infants below 28 weeks the effect is marginal. This may be related to the low incidence of hypothermia in our babies even before the introduction of polythene bags as compared to previously published work.