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J Paediatr Child Health. 1994 Apr;30(2):144-50.

The micro-environment of the sleeping newborn piglet covered by bedclothes: gas exchange and temperature.

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Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Otago Medical School, Dunedin, New Zealand.


This study followed the thermal and gaseous micro-environment of the newborn piglet sleeping under two levels of bedding insulation. After 1 h in the piglet's thermal comfort zone, the head of each piglet was covered for 2 h with bedding either 12 mm or 21 mm thick. Body temperature rose rapidly, but the arterial gases showed no change in the direction of asphyxia; with the thicker covering PaO2 was unchanged and PaCO2 fell and pH rose. These changes were despite a small rise in environmental PCO2 and fall in PO2 but were also minimized by the piglet's ability to avoid profound hypocapnia by panting at a very low tidal volume. No significant changes in blood gases occurred with the thinner bedding; the temperature rose markedly but more slowly. It is suggested that human babies submerged under bedclothes for any length of time would be more likely to succumb to the effects of hyperthermia than of asphyxia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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