Improving Thermal Support in Very and Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants during Interfacility Transport.

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DOI: 10.1097/pq9.0000000000000170; PMCID: PMC6594787


Introduction: Review of very low birth weight (VLBW) and extremely low birth weight (ELBW) neonates transported by our specialized pediatric/neonatal transport team revealed hypothermia in up to 52% of admissions. This project aimed to decrease the incidence of hypothermia in VLBW and ELBW neonates requiring transport between facilities from 52% to < 20% over 1 year.

Methods: In response to gaps in knowledge and barriers to care revealed by a survey administered to transport personnel, we used a standard quality improvement plan-do-study-act model to introduce new equipment and a comprehensive thermoregulation protocol via standardized education. The primary outcome measure was the incidence of hypothermia (axillary temperature < 36.5°C) in transported VLBW and ELBW neonates. The process measure was compliance with the protocol. The balancing measures were unintended hyperthermia and transport team ground time. Transport personnel were updated on progress via meetings and run charts.

Results: We reduced the incidence of hypothermia to 17% in 1 year. Compliance with the protocol improved from 60% to 76%. There was no increase in unintended hyperthermia (5% preintervention, 4% intervention, 7% surveillance, P = 0.76) or transport team ground time (in hours) (1.2 ± 0.9 preintervention versus 1.3 ± 0.8 intervention versus 1.2 ± 0.7 surveillance, P = 0.2).

Conclusions: Quality improvement methods were used to develop an evidence-based, standardized approach to thermal support in VLBW and ELBW neonates undergoing transport between facilities. Following the implementation of this approach, we achieved the desired percent decrease in the incidence of hypothermia.

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Pediatr Qual Saf





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