Aims This study aimed to assess the prevalence of hypothermia, risk factors and outcomes of in admitted neonates at the Neonatology Unit of a tertiary teaching hospital in Rwanda.
Methods A prospective, cross-sectional study was performed. Hypothermia was defined, as per the WHO, as an admission temperature of <36.5°C. Data was taken from the Rwanda Neonatal database (RNDB) from July 2013 until September 2017.
Results 1021 infants were included in the analysis. Hypothermia was found in 280 neonates (27%). Multivariate analysis identified that gestation, mode of delivery and place of birth were statistically significantly associated with hypothermia. Gestation <28 weeks was the most strongly associated with hypothermia with these neonates being approximately seven times more likely to become hypothermic (AOR=6.811, p<0.001). Length of stay (22 versus 16 days) and the mortality rate was higher in hypothermic neonates (26.1%) versus normothermic neonates (9.0%) (AOR=1.79 (CI: 1.11 to 2.89). Table 1: Outcomes in hypothermic neonates:
Conclusion Thermal protection of the neonate is paramount in order to reduce neonatal mortality. Thermal protection measures such as the WHO 10-steps are well described. Education and quality improvement initiatives are required to reduce the prevalence and associated outcomes. Awareness and education about the risks for hypothermia can allow targeted intervention to those at risk (e.g. prematurity and SGA infants).
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