Assessment of whole body and regional evaporative heat loss coefficients in very premature infants using a thermal mannequin : influence of air velocity

Abstract : In human adults, experimental assessment of the evaporative heat loss coefficient (he) requires a fully wetted skin surface area implying exposure to severe heat stress. For ethical reasons, this type of experimental situation is impossible to perform on neonates. The aim of the present study was to assess he values in clinical situations for the body as a whole and for the different body segments, in particular, in natural and forced convection and using an anthropomorphic, sweating, thermal mannequin to represent a very small premature neonate (body mass 900 g). Skin hydration (i.e., simulated sweating) was performed by two electronic pumping systems, providing a steady adjustable flow of water to the mannequin surface. Experiments were carried out in a closed-incubator heated to air temperatures of 33 degrees C and 36 degrees C, with air velocities (V,) ranging from 0.01 to 0.7 m s(-1), and with four levels of air relative humidity (40, 50, 60, and 80%). For the body as a whole, h(e) = 7 W m(-2) mb(-1) in natural convection, whereas in forced convection h(e) was 11.7, 12.4, and 14.1 W m(-2) mb(-1) for air velocities of 0.2, 0.4, and 0.7 m s(-1), respectively. As far as local he is concerned, our results showed that the relative values of regional water loss in forced convection differ greatly from those observed under still air conditions. Thus, increasing air velocity enhances the heterogeneity in regional skin cooling, which may contribute to the neonate's thermal discomfort.
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Khalid Belghazi, Elmountacer-Billah Elabbassi, Pierre Tourneux, Jean-Pierre. Libert. Assessment of whole body and regional evaporative heat loss coefficients in very premature infants using a thermal mannequin : influence of air velocity. Medical Physics, American Association of Physicists in Medicine, 2005, 32 (3), pp.752-758. ⟨10.1118/1.1862074⟩. ⟨ineris-00962945⟩

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