The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2012 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

RESPIRATORY THERAPISTS IMPACT DEVELOPMENTAL CARE IN THE INTENSIVE CARE NURSERY THROUGH SOUND REDUCTION.

Renee Bartle, Lee Williford, Christoph Hornik, Ira Cheifetz, William Malcolm; Duke University, Durham, NC

Background: Respiratory equipment is commonly used in the Intensive Care Nursery (NICU). Noise generated by this equipment often exceed the 45 dB recommended limit. Environmental stressors, including noise, can impact the normal integration of neural pathways in the developing brain. This can lead to physiological and behavioral disorganization. We attempt to quantify sound levels of various equipment/procedures in the NICU environment. Methods: Five neonatal products were monitored over 3-5 min. with and without a sound absorbing intervention: 1) Airlife CPAP system, 2) Bunnell Jet ventilator, 3) Drager 8000 ventilator, 4) Neosucker with suction tubing, and 5) Drager isolette. Sound data were collected using a SL-814 digital sound meter. We compared median sound measurements before and after each intervention using the non-parametric Wilcoxon Rank Sum test. Analyses were performed using Stata 12, and we considered p < 0.05 as statistically significant. Results: Three to four trials were performed with and without intervention with each piece of equipment. Data displayed as median (5th, 95th %ile). Conclusions: All sound levels were above 45 dB. With intervention, noise levels decreased by 3-10 dB. Based on previous research, a 3 dB change equates to a sound pressure level variation of about 50%. Respiratory therapists should consider noise levels when performing daily activities. Sponsored Research - None