16 July 2013
Cooling is conventionally achieved by using cooling caps or coolant-filled mattresses, but these are expensive units requiring a refrigerator to circulate coolant. Often too there is significant hysteresis which causes overshoot and over-cooling of a baby which is equally undesirable and they often cause the babies to shiver.
Horn’s device is remarkably simple, utilising a computer-controlled fan unit to adjust the fan operation, based on the measurement of infant core temperature, to maintain a desired set-point. The control algorithm or strategy that has been developed significantly reduces overshoot and in this regard it outperforms competitor systems. The advantage of the NeoFan is that it can operate effectively using ambient air so an expensive refrigeration unit is not required. The system is light and portable and it can operate in tandem with an incubator crib, although the crib controls need to be modified as generally a below normal setting for body temperature would not be tolerated by the system.
UCT’s PreSeed “Concept” Funding was used by Horn to create the second version prototype and to create additional units so that his clinical study could be broadened. The last of the funding will be used in 2011 for a two-year follow-up evaluation of babies who were treated using the NeoFan.
Contact the Inventor, Dr Alan Horn for more information.