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Innovative Infant Incubator Protects Most Vulnerable

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 28 Nov 2018
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Image: The AmnioBed amniotic neonatal incubator system (Photo courtesy of Amnion Life).
Image: The AmnioBed amniotic neonatal incubator system (Photo courtesy of Amnion Life).
A novel incubator system for neonatal intensive care units (nICUs) incorporates synthetic amniotic fluid in a self-regulating, sterile, submersion bath.

The Amnion Life (Newport, CA, USA) AmnioBed is a neonatal incubator system that features an amniotic fluid submersion bath that simulates the mother's womb, providing a potentially ideal environment to nurture premature infants. The synthetic amniotic fluid is produced using water purified through six medical grade filters, eliminating all harmful substances, bacteria, and viruses. The purified water is then dosed with electrolyte and minerals (found naturally in amniotic fluid) via a dosing pump to create sterile, synthetic amniotic fluid.

Features include a built-in system for temperature and osmolality that warms the water to the proper temperature; based on the age of the infant, operators have the option to choose the level of osmolality that they want. Sensors placed under the infant's chin ensure fluid in the bath never goes above the chin level, and fluid clarity sensors beneath the pelvic area detect stool defecated by the infant, leading to automatic flushing and replacement with fresh fluid. The fluid in the bath is also continuously circulated through an ultraviolet (UV) filter and heat source to maintain sterility and temperature.

In addition, the AmnioBed includes an infant seat with a harness that straps the infant's chest and pelvis in place, so the infant cannot accidentally get fully submerged; a monitoring cap that covers most of the scalp that incorporates a skin temperature sensor, an O2 level monitoring sensor, and several openings over the fontanelles for ultrasound probe placement; and another monitor for the mother which provides direct audio/video feedback from inside the incubator to a proprietary app, so the mother can keep in constant contact with the infant.

“The AmnioBed has the potential to reduce the length of stay for infants and to improve the rate of weight gain and growth in the NICU, thus saving significant direct costs of short and long-term visits, in addition to providing infants with improved health and comfort,” said Amir Fassihi, MD, founder and CEO of Amnion Life. “The AmnioBed will prove to be advantageous over radiant warmer beds and convection warmed incubators in offering improved thermoregulation, hydration, and skin protection, helping to reduce complications and save lives, while also reducing costs.”

Amniotic fluid, generated by maternal plasma, is a protective liquid contained in the amniotic sac that serves both as a cushion for the growing fetus and as a means to facilitate the exchange of nutrients, water, and biochemical products between mother and fetus. When fetal kidneys begin to function in about week 16, fetal urine also contributes to the fluid. Amniotic fluid initially contains mainly water and electrolytes, but by about the 12-14th week the liquid also contains proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and urea, all of which aid in the growth of the fetus.

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