Thrasher Research Fund - Medical research grants to improve the lives of children

Project Details

Early Career

Status: Funded - Open

Skincubator - A novel preterm infant incubator for prolonged skin to skin contact

Itamar Nitzan, MD


BACKGROUND: Skin-to-skin care (SSC), is an intervention proven to reduce morbidity and mortality in preterm neonates. Very preterm neonates are currently not eligible for prolonged SSC during the first days of life because of the need to regulate their body temperature and environmental humidity levels using traditional incubators. GAP: To date – no device enables performing SSC while providing preterm infants with humidity and other advantages of an incubator. We have invented and built the Skincubator – a novel, small, bottomless incubator designed to attach to the caregiver’s torso, creating an enclosed environment with all the advantages of an incubator while enabling prolonged SSC. HYPOTHESIS: We Hypothesize that the Skincubator, will be safe for preterm babies, and that temperature regulation of small preterm babies will be better during Skincubator care as compared to regular SSC . METHODS: 25 Preterm neonates, cared in an incubator with at least 70% humidity will receive alternating traditional SSC and SSC in the Skincubator, and the two methods will be compared. RESULTS: From our preliminary data from the first steps of safety trial (24 preterm babies) it seems that the Skincubator is convenient and safe. No baby had hypothermia or hyperthermia while cared in the Skincubator (in contrast during traditional SSC some of those babies had mild and moderate hypothermia and hyperthermia). IMPACT: The Skincubator is the first and only device that enables skin to skin care within humidity-controlled environment. It has the potential of providing an ideal thermal solution with minimal baby-parent separation, and may improve preterm neonates outcomes in high and low income settings.

Supervising Institution:
Shaare Zedek Medical Center

Cathy Hammerman

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