Body size measuring techniques enabling stress-free growth monitoring of extreme preterm infants inside incubators: A systematic review

Ronald H.J. Gils, Linda Wauben, Onno Helder

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Growth monitoring of preterm infants is essential for assessing the nutritional effects on their growth. The current growth monitoring techniques are too stressful, however, for the smallest preterm infants. We performed a systematic review to summarize studies on stress-free techniques for measuring the body size of preterm infants inside incubators other than the traditional calliper and tape measure-based instruments.
We searched four online literature databases: Embase, Medline, Web of Science Core Collection, and Cochrane, using search terms related to patients (neonates, infants, children) and body size measuring techniques. By means of expert judgement we assessed the techniques’ suitability for stress-free body size measurement of an infant lying in an incubator. As a criterion for suitability, we used an imaginary ideal technique.
Twenty-six studies were included in this review. In 24 studies, the technique for body size measurement was related to 3D technology, and the majority of these studies acknowledged clinical superiority of 3D over 2D data. Two 3D techniques were assessed as suitable for stress-free measurement of preterm infants inside incubators. The first technique used a commercially available 3D handheld scanner which needed 3D postprocessing to derive measurement data. The second technique used a self-developed stereoscopic vision system.
3D volumetric parameters have higher clinical value for growth monitoring than 2D. In addition, contactless 3D measurements enable stress-free growth monitoring of even the smallest preterm infants. However, the time-consuming 3D postprocessing challenges the usability of 3D techniques. Regrettably, none of the identified suitable 3D techniques met all our requirements of an ideal all-in-one body size measuring technique for extreme preterm infants. Handheld 3D scanning might have the best properties for developing this ideal technique.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0267285
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4 April
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2022

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Copyright: © 2022 van Gils et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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