Aims To determine whether placing very preterm infants in polyethylene bags(PB) and on exothermic mattresses(EM) in the delivery room(DR) results in more infants with temperatures of 36.5–37.5°C on NICU admission.
Methods Infants < 31 weeks’ were randomised to treatment with or without EM in DR. All infants were placed in PB under radiant heaters and were transferred to the NICU in transport incubators. Infants’ rectal temperature was measured on admission. We estimated we would need to recruit 118 infants.
Results The external data safety monitoring committee recommended stopping recruitment after analyzing data from 59 infants due to a significant difference in primary outcome between the groups. We present data for 72 infants enrolled when this recommendation was made. Fewer infants randomised to EM had temperatures within the target range [41% v 77%, p=0.002] and more had admission temperature >37.5C [46% v 17%, p=0.009].
Conclusions In newborn very preterm infants, using EM in addition to PB in the DR resulted in more infants with temperatures outside normal range and more hyperthermia on admission to NICU.