Cooling Bodies, Saving Brains
Reported September 2010
LAS VEGAS, NV (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- four out of every one thousand babies born today will suffer brain damage. Now doctors are using a special blanket to help these babies reduce their chances of developing a lifetime of disabilities.
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“I was bleeding uncontrollably,” Kalipay Acevedo told Ivanhoe. “She wasn’t breathing when she was born. It was probably one of the most frightening moments of my life.”
Nine months pregnant Kalipay’s placenta ruptured. Before doctors could get sienna out, she had been deprived of oxygen for 13 minutes.
“Everything in my life just started appearing before me like how rough it would be for her and how we would always have to make sure someone’s there for her and i was just afraid that…it's a big fear of mine.” Acevedo said.
Traditionally, there was little doctors could do to prevent the brain damage that would follow.
“The neurological injury after birth would continue for 1 to 3 days.” Dr. Patricia Ramsey, neonatologist at sunrise children’s hospital said.
At sunrise children’s hospital neonatologists, who specialize in newborns who are sick or premature, use a cooling blanket to save infants like Sienna. Cold water circulates through it, cooling newborns from 98 degrees to 91 degrees. Babies must be cooled within six hours of birth for 72 hours, creating something called therapeutic hypothermia, which helps protects the brain from further damage.
“It gives it certainly time to rest, it reduces the energy requirements that it needs and allows time for healing.” Dr. Ramsey said.
A new study shows while the cooling blanket reduced the death rate, risk of seizures and cerebral palsy, it increased mental, motor and vision scores. It saved Sienna. 18 months later, this little girl is thriving.
“She’s proof, Living proof,” Miguel Acevedo said. “I keep telling everybody these boys better watch out when she grows up."
“I'm so lucky that she’s ok. I'm blessed to have her,” Kalipay Acevedo said.
Therapeutic hypothermia is also being used for cardiac arrest in adults.
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Sunrise Children’s Hospital
Las Vegas, NV
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