Although it is written in many ways such as incubator, incubator, incubator, or incubator, it should be written as Incubator according to TDK.
In this article, about the incubator; We will give information about what is an incubator, what is an incubator, the working principle of the incubator, and incubator malfunctions.
What is an Incubator?
Incubators are designed to allow monitoring and care of the baby, which helps babies born prematurely or with problems to continue their life functions without assistance, provides the temperature, humidity environment, clean and necessary air that the babies are used to in the mother’s womb, in line with the entered parameters. It can be defined as a special box with an isolation, usually transparent, sterile, electronic equipment.
Caring for babies with respiratory problems
Care of babies born from risky pregnancies (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney failure, blood incompatibility or pregnancy poisoning)
Follow-up treatment of asphyxiated babies at birth
Administering lung-enhancing substance (surfactant) respiratory device support to infants with immature lungs
Follow-up and treatment of infected infants
Follow-up and treatment of babies of advanced or very young mothers
Diseases such as phototherapy/follow-up of babies with jaundice and exchange transfusion are treated in incubators.
General Information About the Incubator
Babies born prematurely and/or with problems need doctor’s supervision and nurse care, as they cannot keep their body temperature at the required level and stable, so that their health conditions do not worsen, in a sterile environment at constant temperature, in a certain humidity, in fresh air purified through an antibacterial filter, in silence where their sleep will not be interrupted. . Here, baby incubators are produced to meet this need. The incubator basically consists of a cabinet with a transparent cover, a controller unit that performs the functions of the incubator such as heating, ventilation and humidification, and body parts. There should also be a scale that can weigh the baby while lying in the cabin, a cradle device where the x-ray film can be attached and removed without disturbing the baby, and mechanical devices for moving or turning the baby up and down or left and right.
What are the types of incubators?
Incubators are firstly divided into two as fixed and transport incubators. It is then divided into types as protection, care, monitoring and treatment incubators.
Protection: In some cases, a sterile environment is required just to protect the newborn from external influences. During the development process, these devices are kept for a certain period of time without the need for external assistance.
Care: In these incubators, the care and development of newborns is provided.
Monitoring: In these incubators, the vital functions of newborns are monitored, body temperature, heart rate, respiratory status and pulse rate are continuously recorded and monitored with other medical instruments integrated into the incubator, and interventions are made when necessary.
Treatment: In these incubators, oxygen support is used to help newborns’ respiration, and in cases of physiological jaundice, special fluorescent or new generation LED light, called phototherapy, is treated.
Apart from these, there are also open baby beds, called heat beds, to keep the body temperature of newborns constant or increase. Phototherapy can also be performed in these beds.
Apart from the incubators described above, open-top baby beds that are heated from the bottom or the sides with lamps, called open-top neonatal intensive care beds, are frequently used newborn care devices in order to raise the body temperature of newborn babies or to keep them constant. These devices have integrated x-ray devices, scales, aspirator set, vacuum set, humidification unit.
What are the General Parts of an Incubator?
1- Patient Compartment
wide observation area
Integrated probe module
Ducts for external cables and hoses
Wide front cover, oval covers and apparatus inlet holes
Feed tube access channel
SpO2 (blood oxygen concentration) and measurement and plethismogram curve monitoring
Servo motor controlled oxygenation
2- Control Panel
The easy-to-use control module, with the smart control module, the temperature level, humidity and oxygen in the patient area are precisely controlled. All monitored information is graphically updated on the screen for 24 hours.
Baby’s weight can be updated graphically for 8 days. Calibration and maintenance can be monitored on the system.
3- Incubator Controller
The vital functions of the incubator are controlled by the incubator controller. The incubator controller commands an electrical heater circuit to regulate and keep the cabin temperature or the baby’s skin temperature unchanged. For this purpose, there are sensors that measure the ambient (air) temperature and a sensor that measures the skin temperature of the baby. A blower, that is, a fan, ensures that fresh air is taken into the cabin from the outside and air circulation inside the cabin. The air drawn by the fan is circulated through a container filled with water and is taken in, thus moistening it.
4- Alarms and Warnings
Since the baby’s life is at stake, the incubator should work properly, should not make any mistakes or warn the user nurse in case of error. Power failure is a serious fault condition. In this case, the temperature will decrease as the heater will not operate. In case of power failure, the controller should be able to operate by being powered by a battery or a battery, and should give an audible and light alarm. The breakage or malfunction of the sensors providing the temperature measurement should be detected immediately and an alarm should be given. For this purpose, the presence of double sensors in the same temperature measuring probe increases reliability. If the temperature cannot be controlled for any reason, that is, if it is high or low, the user is warned. Even in case of extremely high temperature, a thermostat operating independently of the controller should be able to disable the heater. The controller should be able to give a warning when there is not enough water in the water tank of the humidifier or when the relative humidity in the cabinet falls below a certain limit for any other reason. For this purpose, a low humidity limit must be programmable by the user as a parameter. An alarm should be given if the airflow drops below the normal level. This error occurs if the ventilation fan does not work for any reason or if the ventilation channels are blocked significantly. In addition to all these, the controller must be extremely reliable, capable of self-testing and alerting the user in case of malfunction.
5- With Humidifier Module
It is integrated into the system as a standard and feeds itself for 24 hours and allows the humidity to be controlled between 30% and 95% UR.
How is the incubator mounted?
Before proceeding with the assembly process, the following operations must be performed:
You should read the service manual and learn about the installation steps.
Ambient conditions should be checked for installation.
The section where the installation will be made should be reviewed in terms of size, lighting, energy, ventilation, sound and heat insulation.
Necessary safety precautions should be taken in the area to be installed.
The section to be installed is isolated from other sections, if possible, until the installation is complete. Care is taken to ensure that the area is ventilated, free from moisture and ambient dust, and the continuity of this process.
The sets to be installed should be determined and these sets should be sterilized as much as possible.
Hand tools other than electrical and electronic equipment can be disinfected with appropriate solutions. Again, electrical and electronic equipment should be disinfected with a sterile cloth dipped in solution on the outer surfaces of the measuring devices in a way that does not impair the properties of the devices.
Considering that the device to be installed is a life support device, care should be taken to ensure that hands and clothes are sterile as much as possible.
Incubator parts should be brought to the area where the installation will be made and made suitable according to the order of operation.
They are taken out of their boxes and placed on suitable temporary platforms. During this process, care should be taken not to damage or lose the connection parts that may come out of the boxes.
Incubator parts should be assembled starting from the plane surface.
During this process, attention should be paid to transition clips, fastening and fixing latches. The mechanical, electrical and electronic components that connect the parts should be properly mounted.
Air, water sterilization hoses should be attached to the incubator with suitable clips.
If you are sure that all processes are completed, it should be physically checked visually and manually.
When all necessary precautions are taken, the device is started by energizing.
Whether all functions of the device are working or not should be checked with appropriate processes.
In particular, apart from the device’s own measuring instruments, final checks should be made with heat meter, moisture meter, gas meter, light intensity meter and noise meter instruments whose current conditions have been calibrated.
The delivery report of the device, which is installed in accordance with the technical specifications, should be filled in and delivered to the users of the device after obtaining the necessary approvals.
The installed part should be left in a clean and orderly manner without leaving any parts, waste materials and hand tools behind.