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Emerging technologies in neonatal care

Globally, there has been reduction in infant mortality rates, from 5 million in 1990 to 2.4 million in 2019. Premature new-born are at high risk during their first 28 days of life, primarily due to conditions and diseases that can be overcome with quality care, and sufficient treatment. Of these, preterm birth, birth defects, infections, and intrapartum-related complications, such as birth asphyxia or poor respiration, are the most common causes.

Factors, such as high birth rates in developing countries, prevalence of premature births, increasing awareness regarding quality newborn care, along with the government’s efforts to improve survival rates, are bringing the neonatal care medical equipment market into focus.

From the moment of birth to the first few days of life, conditions, such as hypothermia or lack of oxygen, may cause cells to die or not function properly leading to inadequate growth and damage to developing organs, such as the brain, lungs, and heart. To avoid complications, newborn babies should be assessed for any signs of serious health issues, provided with thermal protection, given early exclusive breastfeeding, and should also be checked for the need of additional care in cases of sick or low-birthweight babies. A womb-like environment for babies encourages parental bonding, and lowers stress, such as touch, light, and sound. Good-quality incubators that can support procedures by working also as a warmer, along with build in-bed weighing scales, boost air pressure dispersing mattress, bed height adjustment with tilt, are very helpful because they are designed to ensure that the transition remains smooth for the babies and keep them thermally stable.

Selection of technologies for closed care units by the knowledgeable caregivers are dependent on temperature overshoot, setting temperature accuracy, temperature distribution during mattress tilting, temperature gradient change on opening access ports, temperature change on opening admittance panel, warm-up time, filter performance – 0.3m dust count test, humidification performance and noise level. New generation infant incubators have inherited the highest quality features and state of art technology. Superior performance as infant warmer enables better medical treatment.

Modern technology neonatal ventilators play a vital role today in the NICUs by collecting diverse types of data to facilitate an informed decision. Non-invasive ventilatory support (NIV) is considered to be the gold standard in the care of preterm infants with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). The risk for lung injury in preterm infants can be minimized by avoiding intubation and using NIV modes. Selecting an appropriate form of NIV and most suitable patient interface depends on multiple factors like gestational age, underlying lung pathophysiology, local facilities, type of NIV used, health provider’s team experience and skill sets, and resources available at disposal.

In newborn, the diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing is very pronounced. Monitoring infant breathing activity on the diaphragm or abdomen with sensors, and using it as a trigger for inspiration, is an effective way to support reliable and accurate synchrony in non-invasive ventilation (NIV). Furthermore, manually regulating the inspiratory oxygen is complicated and time-consuming. An algorithm to automate the oxygen control has been developed for better stable outcome in reducing manual intervention for the users.

In conclusion, newborn care requires skilled and quality care from the moment of birth to the first few days of life. The use of advanced technology, such as good-quality reliable incubators, accurate synchrony in NIV mode, and automated oxygen control algorithms in neonatal ventilator, improve neonatal outcomes and reduce the risk of complications. Careful monitoring of vital signs and synchronizing ventilation support is vital for successful treatment. Superior technology products with reliability and good after-sales service ensures best possible outcomes for neonatal patients. 

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