New innovation successfully treats neonatal hypothermia

Neonatal hypothermia—which occurs when an infant’s core body temperature falls below the normal range needed to maintain health—contributes to approximately one million deaths each year, and countless cases of stunted growth, almost exclusively in low- and middle-income countries. To address this common but preventable condition, researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, engineers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and colleagues in Rwanda developed the Dream Warmer, a low cost, reusable non-electric infant warmer to prevent and treat hypothermia. A new study from the team shows that infants who received treatment with the warmer had only an 11 percent rate of hypothermia compared to 29 percent of those who did not. Infant death rates also dropped, from 2.8 percent among infants who did not use the warmer to 0.9 percent of those who did. Results of the study were published in eClinicalMedicine from The Lancet.