Improving Infant Safety with the Baby Thermal Manikin

Belmont Medical Technologies, a medical device company that provides leading patient temperature management solutions, and ThermoAnalytics, a thermal software company, know a mother will do anything to protect their baby, including reducing their infant’s body temperature to a hypothermic level to keep them safe when necessary. 

While this may sound counterintuitive and borderline frightening, we’re honored to have partnered with both organizations in creating a human surrogate measurement device for testing infants undergoing therapeutic hypothermia. 

Keep reading to learn more about this one-of-a-kind Baby Thermal Manikin.

Developing the Baby Thermal Manikin

In medical device development, bench models that can simulate in-vivo research (research done on a living organism) are preferable as they reduce cost and variables and can be completed more quickly than in-vivo studies. Previously, developers of patient temperature management systems that incorporate warming and cooling garments did not have a bench model that could simulate in-vivo studies due to the complex nature of human thermal physiology – until now.

While traditional thermal medical devices typically control the patient’s core temperature during operating procedures or in intensive care, a smaller field of patient temperature management called therapeutic hypothermia (TH) has a growing interest, especially in neonates with moderate to severe hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a type of brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen before or shortly after birth.

By combining our Baby Thermal Manikin with ThermoAnalytics’ customized thermal software, we were able to create a thermal model to assist Belmont in its TH research.

Temperature management products are used to induce TH in neonates by reducing the core temperature as low as 33⁰C (91.4⁰F), which has shown to have therapeutic benefits on cardia and patients with brain injury [ 1 , 2 ]. For neonatal patients, TH improves survival and neurodevelopment in neonates [ 3 ].

During temperature management, it is critical to maintain temperature to deliver the correct therapy while cooling to therapeutic temperatures and rewarming to normothermic temperatures. The device is controlled by a human thermal model, and can simulate thermoregulation to predict core temperature – helping to more safely study the impacts of TH in infants.

So, whether you’re a medical device engineer, thermal scientist, or loving mother, we can all appreciate the impact the Baby Thermal Manikin will make on science, medicine, and our littlest loved ones.

1. Papile, Lu-Ann, Jill E. Baley, William Benitz, James Cummings, Waldemar A. Carlo, Eric Eichenwald, Praveen Kumar, Richard A. Polin, Rosemarie C. Tan, and Kasper S. Wang. "Hypothermia and neonatal encephalopathy." Pediatrics 133, no. 6 (2014): 1146-1150.

2. Holzer, Michael, Stephen A. Bernard, Said Hachimi-Idrissi, Risto O. Roine, Fritz Sterz, Marcus Müllner, and Collaborative Group on Induced Hypothermia for Neuroprotection After Cardiac Arrest. "Hypothermia for neuroprotection after cardiac arrest: systematic review and individual patient data meta-analysis." Critical care medicine 33, no. 2 (2005): 414-418.

3. Azzopardi, Denis, Brenda Strohm, Neil Marlow, Peter Brocklehurst, Aniko Deierl, Oya Eddama, Julia Goodwin et al. "Effects of hypothermia for perinatal asphyxia on childhood outcomes." New England Journal of Medicine 371, no. 2 (2014): 140-149.