Computer-generated versus nurse-determined strategy for incubator humidity and time to regain birthweight
Objective: To compare effects on premature infants' weight gain of a computer-generated and a nurse-determined incubator humidity strategy. An optimal humidity protocol is thought to reduce time to regain birthweight. Design: Prospective randomized controlled design. Setting: Level IIIC neonatal intensive care unit in the Netherlands. Participants: Infants of 24 to 30 weeks gestational age with a birthweight less than 1,500 g. Intervention: Two incubator humidity strategies were studied: computer-generated and nurse-determined humidity. Main outcome measure:Time needed to regain birthweight. Results: One hundred thirty six infants were enrolled: 65 were exposed to the computer-generated strategy and 71 to the nurse-determined strategy. Demographic characteristics were well balanced between groups, with birthweight 981 ± 245 versus 991 ± 213 g, mean gestational age 27.7 ± 1.7 versus 27.7 ± 1.6 weeks. Main outcome did not significantly differ between strategies: survival analysis showed an equal number of days needed to regain birthweight (median 9 days, with 95% CIs 8-10 and 7-11 for infants exposed to the computer-generated and nurse-determined humidity strategy, respectively). Conclusion: Computer-generated strategy does not reduce the time needed to regain birthweight.