Doctors freeze newborn baby to save its life

Doctors freeze newborn baby to save its life
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Doctors freeze newborn baby to save its life

Highlights

The initiative was in response to an SOS from Anantapur hospital

Bengaluru: In a miraculous case, a specialised team of neonatologists from Motherhood Hospitals, Bengaluru carried out a novel technique – "Total Body Cooling" procedure to save the life of a newborn baby (2-day old), who suffered a serious disturbance in the heart rhythm called neonatal supra ventricular tachycardia, that makes the heartbeat abnormally fast (250-280 per minute).

The NICU team at Motherhood Hospitals, Bengaluru received an emergency call from Dr. Srinivas from Hrudaya Hospital in Anantapur where a newborn baby girl was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) and was admitted in a critical state. SVT is a medical condition where the heart beats faster than normal (120-160 per minute). In this case, the baby's heartbeat was almost double as compared to what is considered normal.

The NICU team at Motherhood Hospitals almost immediately left to retrieve the baby using "NICU on Wheels", which is an all-encompassing high-end transport vehicle with all the state-of the art NICU facilities used to transport newborn or critically ill babies.

Since the distance between Anantapur and Bengaluru is more than 200 kilometres, the teams from both the hospitals decided to meet in Chikkaballapur, which is mid-way, as the baby required immediate medical attention. Upon reaching Chikkaballapur, the baby was immediately shifted to Motherhood NICU on wheels and was administered 3 doses of adenosine to slow her heart rate down.

Adenosine works by stopping the heart for a second or so and then restarting there by bringing the heart rate to normal. However, even after receiving 3 doses of adenosine, the heart rate did not slow down. The baby was transferred to Motherhood NICU and was given 3 more medicines as continuous infusion to reduce the heart rate. Meanwhile, investigations including cardiac Echo, ECG, and blood tests were done to rule out other causes and ensure normal structure of the heart. Then the team went ahead to deliver shock to cardiovert the rhythm but in vain.

Seeing no signs of improvement, the medical team lead by Dr. Prathap Chandra, Neonatologist and paediatrician from Motherhood Hospitals decided to use the Total Body Cooling technique to lower the baby's body temperature from 37o Celsius to 33.5o Celsius. This technique is commonly used in babies who do not cry after birth and whose brain does not receive sufficient oxygen. However, for a patient diagnosed with SVT, this was one of the first times, this technique was used. Cooling helped in significantly lowering the heart rate and bringing back the normal rhythm in the baby, thus saving her life. The baby has now completely recovered from this condition and is hale and hearty, visiting for regular check-ups. The recovery of the baby can be completely owed to timely detection and treatment of the baby at the hands of specialised medical experts. Commenting on the efforts of the doctors, Vijayarathna Venkatraman, CEO at Motherhood Hospitals said "We are proud of the fact that our team of expert clinicians and support staff were able to save the life of this child with their expertise. We offer high intensity neonatal care, 24/7 and ensure tiny new-borns born with complications are restored to health.'

Speaking about the NICU program, Head of Medical operations, Motherhood Hospitals, Bengaluru, Dr Pallav Gupta said, "The Neonatology program in motherhood is the largest in the region. We have successfully treated more than 14,000 new-born/ prematurely born babies. 40 per cent of these babies are retrieved from remote areas of Karnataka (like Koppal, Hubbali, Chikkamangaluru, Anantpur, Chitradurga, Bellary, Hassan, Kadapa and Gadag to name a few) through our Neonatal Transport – 'NICU on Wheels'. Our integrated Neonatology Team gives the best care to babies who require NICU support."

Dr. Prathap Chandra added, "It was one of the most challenging cases and our only priority was to save the baby's life. Since SVT is a condition which disrupts blood flow, to vital organs, cooling helped to reduce the basal metabolic rate, thereby reducing her heart rate. The baby is now almost 4 months old & has been regularly visiting for check-ups and has recovered well."

Expressing his joy, the baby's grandfather Marriswamy Naik said, "My family and I are eternally grateful to the entire team at Motherhood Hospitals for treating my granddaughter and giving her a new lease of life. We had lost hope completely and were devastated to see her in that condition. Upon bringing her to Bengaluru, the doctors went out of their way to save the baby."

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