Heat loss prevention in the delivery room for preterm infants: a national survey of newborn intensive care units.

 BACKGROUND: Hypothermia incurred during delivery room resuscitation continues to cause morbidity in infants <29 weeks gestation. Three recent trials have shown that wrapping such infants instead of drying prevents heat loss, resulting in higher infant temperatures at Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) admission.
OBJECTIVE: To describe current NICU practices with respect to wrapping preterm infants to prevent heat loss in the delivery room.
STUDY DESIGN: E-mail survey of neonatologists from national registry using a web-based survey tool.
RESULTS: Of 411 e-mails successfully delivered, 125 (30%) responded. Most (87%) represented level III NICUs. Almost one-fifth of respondents (20%) use occlusive material instead of drying preterms in the delivery room. Considerable variation exists regarding choice of wrap and duration of use. Few adverse events were reported.
CONCLUSION: "In all" was added -This implies 20% of all NICU's changed practice, 20% of level III NICUs responding have changed delivery room resuscitation practices rapidly in response to new evidence. No "gold" standard exists nationally and there is considerable variation in practice. Neonatal resuscitation guidelines for premature infants should include recommendations regarding choice occlusive wrap and application techniques.