Fort Worth Hospital is Using Ziploc Bags to Keep Babies Warm

Low weights of premature babies make them prone to heat loss, but the hospital found encasing them in plastic bags helps stabilize their temperature.

[Image: D CEO]

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth has found a unique way to increase survival rates of premature babies. 

Low weights of premature babies make them prone to heat loss, but the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit has developed techniques designed to stabilize a baby’s temperature. Among its tools are one-gallon, Ziploc freezer bags, according to D CEO

The Texas Health Fort Worth NICU team cuts a hole at the top of the bag and slips the baby in head-first so that it’s encased in it like a “poncho.” The technique came out of a study called Hypothermia Eradication from Admission Temperatures that the hospital began four years ago to improve patient outcomes.

“The main focus of HEAT was to increase the delivery-room temperature to create an optimal environment when the baby arrives,” Stephanie Eidson, a clinical educator, told D CEO. “We started HEAT research with 26-week triplets and collected data on 430 babies.”

The result was a combination of temperature-stablizing tools such as setting the thermostat in the delivery room to 76 degrees Fahrenheit and of course the use of plastic bags. 

The percentage of hypothermic infants upon admittance to the NICU has decreased from 20 to 10 percent, Lindsey Canon, the hospital’s NICU manager, told D CEO.

Texas Health Fort Worth was recently given recognition for this discovery, including receiving a $12,000 American Excess Insurance Exchange grant to help teach its staff, according to the magazine. 

Read more about the research here. 

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