Equipment which could help reduce the risk of brain damage in newborn babies has been donated to the Neonatal Unit at Noble’s Hospital by the Henry Bloom Noble Healthcare Trust.
The potentially life-saving machinery includes a device which helps reduce the temperature of infants and a monitor which traces brain activity.
The Tecotherm Neo, an automated cooling mattress with circulating fluid to cool the baby, and Infant Cerebral Function Monitor, which records the child’s brain electrical activity using four sensors applied to the scalp, will help medics reduce the severity of brain damage caused by asphyxia suffered during birth, which can lead to severe disabilities and even death.
Consultant General and Neonatal Paediatrician Dr Prakash Thiagarajan explained: “Every year two to three infants per 1000 births get into difficulty during the birthing process, suffering asphyxia, when they are deprived of oxygen and/or blood supply, resulting in damage to the brain.”
“Not all damage to the brain occurs at the time of the initial incident. A majority of asphyxia brain damage is secondary and occurs in the first 48 to 72 hours after birth.”
“There is good evidence that cooling an infant who has sustained asphyxia helps minimise the secondary damage to the brain. This therapy is also supported by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).”
“The earlier the cooling process is started, the better the chances of preventing secondary brain damage in asphyxiated infants.”
He added: &dlquo;Cooling infants who have suffered asphyxia, thereby reducing the severity of their brain damage, will reduce mortality and the incidence and severity of consequences of asphyxia. Current data indicates that of every eight infants treated, one death or severe disability will be prevented.”
“The benefits of preventing or minimising brain damage after asphyxia to the child, their family, society and the NHS are immeasurable.”
“We are extremely grateful to the trust for purchasing the equipment that will enable us to help newborn infants with asphyxia minimise the brain damage.”
The Henry Bloom Noble Healthcare Trust, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2013, funds equipment, training, research, education and health promotion to help improve the standard of healthcare in the Isle of Man and the quality of life for sick, infirm and disabled people in hospital, care-settings or their own homes.
The Trust, which was founded by the Island’s greatest benefactor in memory of his wife, continues the original intentions of Henry Bloom Noble thanks to the ongoing generosity of donors and benefactors.
Trustee Malcolm Clague said: “Although the number of newborns who suffer asphyxia during birth is thankfully small, it is a time of great distress for their family and staff at the Neonatal Unit. Sadly, 10% will not survive and one third will suffer severe disabilities.”
“This application, led by Dr Prakash, detailed how this equipment will improve the outcome for some of these newborns, and the Trust was impressed by his enthusiasm and wanted to ensure the necessary equipment is available to try and achieve the best possible outcome for the patient and their family.”