A randomized control trial of hypothermia alert device in low birth weight newborns and the effect on kangaroo mother care and weight gain

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Background

Lack of thermal protection is one of the major challenges faced by developing nations for newborn survival. Early detection and subsequent prevention of hypothermia through Kangaroo Care could lead to significant health outcomes for the newborn. Hypothermia alert device is a bracelet that monitors for early hypothermia by sensing the extremities and sounding an alarm for parents to take action.

Methods

In a randomized controlled trial, the effect of the hypothermia alert device on KMC compliance at home and weight gain of newborns on 4th week follow-up was evaluated. Newborns discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit at Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (IGICH). Neonates who were LBW (less than 2500 grams) were included in the study once they were stable and ready for discharge. Neonates were given a hypothermia alert device to monitor their temperatures for hypothermia for 4 weeks. Weekly follow-ups were held with parents and to record measurements of growth. Additionally, parents were given a KMC diary to track sessions of KMC. Neonates were given either a placebo bracelet or a BEMPU Bracelet. Bracelets were identical and both monitored for hypothermia, however only the BEMPU Bracelet gave an alarm when the newborn was hypothermic.

Results

Statistically 44 neonates completed the 4-week trial; 23 were in the control group and 21 were in the BEMPU group; of these, 19 participants in the control group completed KMC diaries and 19 BEMPU group completed KMC diaries. The results of the clinical trial reveal that parents of neonates in the BEMPU group demonstrated better compliance to KMC. In the BEMPU group, the average daily time spent doing KMC was significantly higher in first (3.02 v 1.96 h, p=0.016) and fourth (3.04 v 2.38 h, p=0.094) week of discharge. There was an increase of weight gain in the BEMPU group after the first (25.7 v 20.7 g, p=0.1.85) and fourth (28.3 v 22.9 g, p=0.057) week of discharge.

Conclusions

The hypothermia alert device was found to be an effective intervention to promote parent adherence to Kangaroo Care and weight gain.


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