Monday, August 24, 2009

Previously, there was little doctors could do to help babies who suffer brain trauma from loss of oxygen during delivery. But thanks to new technology, there may be help in preventing the damage that occurs when brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. Dr. Edward Hill discusses the Cool-Cap in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Statistics show that two of every 1,000 newborns suffer from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or swelling of the brain and spinal cord caused by a lack of oxygen. Before now we had few options for these babies, who face a lifetime of seizures, cognitive issues and neurological problems.

The Cool-Cap, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2006, brings down the babyís core temperature to slow brain activity, giving the baby time to rebound from the reduced oxygen flow before permanent damage occurs.

The Cool-Cap looks like a tiny shower cap made of foil. Inside is a series of channels that route chilled water around a babyís head, bringing his or her core temperature around 93 degrees Fahrenheit. Seventy-two hours later, doctors remove the cap and slowly warm the baby.

The results of studies using this technology are promising and show that outcomes may be improved for these babies. For parents, the Cool-Cap technology may mean a baby with mild developmental delay instead of severe long-term developmental disabilities.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.