Send to

Choose Destination
Med Eng Phys. 2017 Aug;46:89-95. doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2017.06.002. Epub 2017 Jun 21.

Thermal management in closed incubators: New software for assessing the impact of humidity on the optimal incubator air temperature.

Author information

PériTox UM-I 01, UFR de Médecine, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, France.
PériTox UM-I 01, UFR de Médecine, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, France; Réanimation et Soins Continus Pédiatriques, Pôle Femme-Couple-Enfant, CHU Amiens, Picardie, France. Electronic address:



Low-birth-weight (LBW) neonates are nursed in closed incubators to prevent transcutaneous water loss. The RH's impact on the optimal incubator air temperature setting has not been studied.


On the basis of a clinical cohort study, we modelled all the ambient parameters influencing body heat losses and gains. The algorithm quantifies the change in RH on the air temperature, to maintain optimal thermal conditions in the incubator.


Twenty-three neonates (gestational age (GA): 30.0 [28.9-31.6] weeks) were included. A 20% increase and a 20% decrease in the RH induced a change in air temperature of between -1.51 and +1.85°C for a simulated 650g neonate (GA: 26 weeks), between -1.66 and +1.87°C for a 1000g neonate (GA: 31 weeks), and between -1.77 and +1.97°C for a 2000g neonate (GA: 33 weeks) (p<0.001). According to regression analyses, the optimal incubator air temperature=a+b relative humidity +c age +d weight (p<0.001).


We have developed new mathematical equations for calculating the optimal temperature for the incubator air as a function of the latter's relative humidity. The software constitutes a decision support tool for improving patient care in routine clinical practice.


Closed incubator management; Preterm neonates; Relative air humidity; Software; Thermoneutrality

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center