DENVER, Colo. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— Approximately 38 million babies will be born in the U.S. this year. For most moms, the delivery is normal. But for some, the delivery can be complicated causing cerebral palsy, epilepsy, developmental delays and learning disabilities. But now, a technique called therapeutic hypothermia could cool babies down and prevent brain damage.
This little guy is just hours old. Rushed from the delivery room into this special crib to save his life. Fifteen months ago, little Adalyne was in the same bed.
“I had an emergency c-section and then Adalyne was born not breathing. Instead of hearing the happy sounds of a baby crying, we heard them starting CPR on our daughter,” recalled Adalyne’s mom, Amanda Burgie.
Neither Adalyne nor this baby received enough oxygen and blood supply to their brains during delivery.
Katharine Meddles, MD, a pediatric neurologist at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children explained, “With cooling, we now have the ability to further reduce the damage.”
Meddles says neonatologists perform therapeutic hypothermia on newborns.
Within six hours of a baby’s birth, they are placed on a water-filled blanket to lower their core temperature to 92 degrees Fahrenheit, slowing the brain’s metabolism, decreasing the chance of tissue damage and brain injury.
“Cooling seems to interrupt that process,” clarified Meddles.
Newborns stay in this bed for 72 hours and then their bodies are slowly brought back up to 97.5 degrees. The cooling can’t reverse damage to cells already injured, but it can stop new damage.
“You could go from perhaps having a risk of mild cerebral palsy to potentially having a normal outcome,” said Meddles.
As for Adalyne, she is quickly surpassing all goals for her age group. In fact, she is exceptional, if you ask her mom!
“She’s walking, happy, smiling, chatting, she’s our little miracle,” Burgie shared.
There is a risk of bleeding and also lung problems. So, babies using the cooling bed are monitored around the clock. The children are then followed for two years by a team of physicians, seeing them every other month for the first few months, then every six months after that.