Cooling baby reduces risk of brain damage

Every parent wants a healthy baby but for some that wish is just not in the cards. But doctors at St. Louis Children’s Hospital are using a new procedure that may help some at risk babies transition easier from the womb to the outside world saving lives.

An article published September 14, 2011 on Ivanhoe.com tells us about a “Life Saving Cool Baby Blanket” and introduces us to Tyler Evans a 7 week old miracle to his parents.

“One of the doctors said he’s gone through more during his first week on this earth than most of us would ever go through in our lifetime,” Ken Evans, Tyler’s father, told Ivanhoe.

Although Tyler’s mother had an unremarkable pregnancy Tyler was in trouble at birth. The umbilical cord was tightly wrapped around his throat cutting off oxygen to his brain. Tyler was immediately rushed to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital where a new procedure known as therapeutic hypothermia has become a life saver for these types of at risk newborns.

“This is a big deal. We’ve not had anything specific for the brain for decades,” Amit M. Mathur, MBBS, M.D, an associate professor of pediatrics and medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said.

The new therapy works by continuous monitoring and 72 hours wrapped up in a special blanket that lowers body temperature 3 to 4 degrees. “And what that results in is a decrease in the metabolic demand for the brain, which has been shown to be protective when done over three days,” Dr. Mathur said.

The treatment is said to actually reduce the chance of brain injury and death by as much as 25%. For Tyler the treatment has resulted in a full recovery.

“The first MRI was fine, and that’s where they find the major head trauma or any brain damage, and he was fine. Everything was normal,” Tiffany Evans, Tyler’s mom, said.

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