Fifteen studies were performed in ten premature infants whose birth weight (mean±SD) was 1,444±250 gm, gestational age 32.7±1.0 weeks, and postnatal age 10.7±3.3 days. Each study consisted of three hours simultaneous measurement of insensible water loss and oxygen consumption under two conditions for the same infant: (1) inside a single-walled incubator and (2) inside a double-walled incubator. The double-walled incubator provided significantly (P<0.001) higher operative temperature and incubator wall temperature than did the single-walled incubator. Infants inside the double-walled incubator had significantly lower (P<0.01) IWL (30% reduction) and lower (P<0.05) V̇O2 (17% reduction) than inside the single-walled incubator-a net caloric saving of 11.8 kcal/kg/day. This saving of energy expenditure may be important in affecting the growth and outcome of the low-birth-weight infants.
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