First and Only in Houston: Childrens Memorial Hermann Hospital Now Offers Comprehensive Neuro-Neonatal ICU Program

Houston, TX (PRWEB) May 08, 2014

Childrens Memorial Hermann Hospital is proud to become one of only a handful of hospitals in the nation and the first and only hospital in Houston to offer a highly specialized, comprehensive Neuro-Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (Neuro-NICU) Program. Through this new capability, Childrens Memorial Hermann Hospital will be able to offer the best possible outcomes for newborn babies with neurological complications.

From the initial planning phase to in-depth staff training to acquiring all of the necessary top-of-the-line equipment, including five new aEEG (amplitude-integrated EEG) machines, this groundbreaking program has been three years in the making, said Nicole Francis, clinical director of Neonatal Services at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. Timing is critical when it comes to these cases and we strongly believe that with access to this cutting-edge clinical technology, we will be able to deliver a higher quality level of care to this very specific neonatal patient population, faster than ever before.

One such possible neurological complication is birth hypoxia (hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, also known as perinatal asphyxia), which happens when newborns are deprived of oxygen before, during, or shortly after birth. This lack of oxygen damages brain and spinal cord cells. According to the American Journal of Neuroradiology, birth hypoxia happens in two to 10 per 1000 newborns who are born at term, and more for those who are born prematurely. Depending on the severity of the hypoxia, resulting conditions can range from extreme mental disabilities and/or seizures to death.

Previously, the only available option for monitoring these babies was a regular EEG (electroencephalography), which records the brain’s spontaneous electrical activity over a short period of time, usually 20 to 30 minutes. But, if no relevant brain activity is recorded during that time, then no data is delivered and no action can be taken.

Thanks to this brand new, specialized medical equipment and the highly-trained nursing and physician team of advanced neonatal specialists, Childrens Memorial Hermann Hospital is uniquely qualified to treat this group of patients. With five state-of-the-art aEEG machines now available, nurses can continuously record a babys brain function in real time, with easier initiation and for an extended period of 24 hours or longer if needed.

This around-the-clock, uninterrupted monitoring system will allow for the delivery of faster, better data which will lead to faster, more accurate diagnoses and, therefore, speedier treatment options provided by our team of expert pediatric neurologists and neurosurgeons, said Dr. Gretchen Von Allmen, director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Program at Childrens Memorial Hermann Hospital and assistant professor at UTHealth Medical School.

The program launched in late April and, on day one of operation, the team of neonatal specialists was able to put the new equipment to work on a newborn child in need. Shortly after our son, Morris, was born at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, our physicians there were concerned he may have been suffering from birth asphyxia due to complications with the umbilical cord during delivery, said Morris father, Kristian Dunford. When they told us they wanted to rush him via Memorial Hermann Life Flight

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