We are joining a growing movement in neonatology that has begun to acknowledge the detrimental effects of prematurity on brain development.
Loma Linda, CA (PRWEB) May 15, 2014
Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital (LLUCH) has opened a Neuro NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) offering specialized neurological services to babies. LLUCH is the first hospital in the Inland Empire and only the fourth in California to offer such services.
“With the opening of the Neuro NICU at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, we are bound to advance the field of neonatal neurology,” said Andrea Pardo, MD, co-director of the Neuro NICU. “This is just one more cutting edge development in our already state-of-the-art NICU to improve the outcomes of babies.”
The Neuro NICU is an extension of the existing 84-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at LLUCH and provides specialized services to neurologically impaired babies or those at high risk for neurologic impairment. Those treated in the Neuro NICU require a focused approach in order to prevent brain injury or avoid further injury to the brain and to optimize the neurodevelopmental status of the newborn baby at discharge from the hospital. This unique care requires a collaborative effort between neonatologists, pediatric neurologists, and neonatal nurses with special training in neuro monitoring and the recognition that common neonatal medical problems and intensive care have an effect on the developing brain.
“In opening the Neuro NICU we are joining a growing movement in neonatology that has begun to acknowledge the detrimental effects of prematurity on brain development,” said Raylene Phillips, MD, co-director of the Neuro NICU. “We have also included a strong focus on providing neuroprotective care, which seeks to create a more developmentally appropriate NICU environment to support optimal development of the newborn’s immature brain. Carefully structured neuroprotective care in addition to diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of known brain injury is a unique feature of our Neuro NICU.”
The opening of the Neuro NICU has been two years in the making and was made possible in part by a $280,000 grant from the Riverside Community Health Foundation. “They have been very generous to us over the years in a number of areas,” said Andrew Hopper, MD, co-director of the Neuro NICU, and one of the visionaries behind its development. Hopper admits there was little to no funding available. “We wrote a grant to the organization and they graciously decided they would fund us.”
Neuro NICU treatment can begin during transport to the hospital in a specially designed isolette. A baby would then be transferred to a cooling bed for whole body cooling; then be connected to an aEEG (amplitude integrated electroencephalography) monitor—which is used as a screening tool to identify whether seizure activity is present based on the frequency and amplitude of the electrical impulses from the brain. This information is displayed on the Nicolet EEG machine that will show a compressed tracing, which allows the bedside nurse, neonatologist and neonatal neurologist to identify suspicious electrographic brain activity and proceed with further testing and appropriate treatment for the babies, improving neurological outcomes.