"Oxygen-deprived newborns now stand a fighting chance against permanent brain damage through innovative technological advances involving controlled-temperature treatment.
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital offers a new treatment involving the Olympic Cool-Cap System, which combines a continuous flow of cooling water connected to the cap and an infant’s head, according to a press release.
“This therapy offers hope for a situation and condition that we previously did not have anything to nto before,” said Dr. Daniel Hirsch, an attending neonatologist in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital.
While the cap is connected, the infant has a body temperature three to four degrees below normal, according to the release.
The hospital’s informational fact sheet said that infants who qualify for the treatment are full-term newborns affected by prenatal asphyxia and diagnosed with acute hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
HIE is a condition in which the infant’s brain does not receive enough oxygen, and it occurs about two to three times per every thousand births, according to the fact sheet. Infants who suffer from this condition endure such long-term damage as cerebral palsy, delayed development, seizures and even death.
“We know that the babies suffering moderate to severe brain injury due to lack of oxygen will do better, not only in the short term but in the long term as well, which has been seen through large group trials,” said Hirsch, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the RWJUH of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Babies up to one and a half years old who received the treatement were developing better than those who did not receive the treatment, he said.
“There are follow up studies in the trial to measure the benefits and effectiveness to persist to even six or seven years in life,” Hirsch said.
A stand-alone unit carefully regulates and monitors the water temperature and the infant’s scalp, abdominal wall and rectal temperatures to about 34 to 35 degrees Celsius, Hirsch said.
“We will get the brain cool enough to slow down the biochemical reactions that have started secondary due to lack of oxygen to the brain,” Hirsch said.
Applying the Cool-Cap treatment within the first six hours of birth for 72 hours impedes the destructive secondary biochemical reactions in the brain due to HIE, according to the fact sheet.
The cool water circulates through a cap similar to a bathing cap, Hirsch said. A middle layer assures that there is good contact between this cap and the infant, and the final, third cap insulates the infant’s scalp from the surrounding environment.
A large clinical trial showed that the Olympic Cool-Cap System is safe and has prevented or reduced the degree of an infant’s brain injury, which is also supported through findings in animal testing, according to the hospital’s fact sheet.
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital is a top-rated children’s hospital in the United States and is the first hospital in New Jersey to offer the Cool-Cap treatment, according to the press release.
“It is another way in which our hospital can continue to stay on the side of cutting edge technology and offer the kids of New Jersey the best of care, opposed to having all these babies to be sent out of state to New York or Pennsylvania,” Hirsch said.
Hirsch expects that other New Jersey hospitals will follow in the footsteps of Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital and offer the valuable treatment within the next few months to one or two years.
Hirsch said the hospital staff have all been carefully trained and prepared to use the Olympic Cool-Cap System, and currently the hospital offers the revolutionary treatment to any infant who qualifies."
Source: The Daily Targum