Monday, March 29, 2021

Infant Incubator

Hi friends!!!


Today we are going to discuss about Infant Incubator.


Infant Incubator is a important device used in NICU to save the lives of new born infant's. Therefore it is important for every healthcare professional to know in detail about Infant Incubator.


Let’s get into the topic. 

WHY INCUBATOR?


One of the major challenges in the survival of newborn infants is the thermal regulation. All mammals have the ability to regulate their body temperature. However, a newborn infant finds it difficult to regulate its temperature due to external environmental conditions. Body temperature decreases because of heat loss from conduction, convection and water evaporation.


The conduction depends upon the thermal conductivity of the substance in contact with the body. Since babies will be covered in mattress, the heat loss due to mattress will be less. In convection, heat loss will be due to air temperature and speed.


Air speed and absolute humidity of the air decides the evaporation loss. If a infant is nursed in a regular warm incubator with moderate humidity, heat loss will be less.


However, heat loss due to evaporation is high when a immature babies with a thin skin are treated in a normal environment.


WHAT IS INFANT INCUBATOR?


The infant incubator is a rigid box like structure in which infant can be kept in a set and controlled environment to warn the infant by circulating heated air over the skin. The infant incubator include a fan, AC powered heater, a container filled with water to add humidity, a control valve for oxygen and a hand accessible port which permits the infants to be handled for nursing care. 


The incubator also consists of temperature sensor which is attached to infant’s abdomen to trace the infants actual body temperature.


The incubator is widely used in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).



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WHAT IS THE MECHANISM OF INCUBATOR?


The incubator box is generally made up of acrylic or fibre glass. The incubator box is transparent and a heating mechanism is kept below the tray of the incubator. The heating mechanism produces heat, which is not directly used to heat the infant. The heat produced from the heating mechanism warms the air mixture, which is then circulated in a closed environment around the baby.


There will be a digital display attached in a incubator which shows the air temperature and the infants body temperature. There is also an alarm function to alert in case of sudden increase or drop in temperature. The temperature control function is available in automatic as well as manual mode.

 

WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF INCUBATOR?


The following are some of the notable types of incubator.


OPEN INCUBATOR


The open incubator is a type of incubator in which a infant is kept in a flat surface with a radiant heating element is kept handing above or below the surface. The level of heating is automatically controlled depending upon the infant’s body temperature. The infant body temperature is obtained using the temperature sensor attached to the infant abdomen.


Since open incubators are open at the top, it is easier to have skin to skin handling of infants from the top. The open incubators are used in case of infant requiring temporary body temperature regulation. The open incubator have lesser control over humidity levels and germ control when compared to the closed incubator. 


CLOSED INCUBATOR


The closed incubator is a type of incubator in which infant is completely covered. The main difference when compared to open incubator is that the temperature is created by circulation of warm air around closed environment.


The closed incubator has better control over humidity and germ protection. The temperature and humidity can be controlled manually by using knobs attached at the outer surface of the incubator. The temperature and humidity can also be adjusted automatically based on the temperature sensor readings attached to the infant’s abdomen.


The closed incubator has two prevent heat and air loss. So, the closed incubator is also called as double walled incubator.


PORTABLE INCUBATOR


The portable incubator is small in size. The portable incubators are used in case of transportation that is shifting an infant from one location to other. The portable incubator also includes a mini ventilator, pulse oximeter, oxygen supply unit, cardio respiratory unit.


Now I hope you have acquired some knowledge about Infant Incubator. We will meet again with another valuable topic related to Biomedical Engineering, Medical Device, Healthcare.


NOTE: Dear friends!!!... Please do comment a topic related to Biomedical, so that we can discuss it in future blogs.


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