Technology / Science

Doctors freeze baby for 4 days to save his life

by Staff Reporter
12 Feb 2013 at 20:44hrs | 5990 Views
Doctors wrapped Edward Ives in a blanket filled with a cold gel to lower his heart rate in a pioneering treatment that saved the baby’s life. Read more:
A newborn baby has been given a second shot at life thanks to pioneering doctors who "froze" his body for a whopping four days to combat his rare heart condition.

Edward Ives, now 6 months old, has made a remarkable recovery since he was born with supraventricular tachycardia in August 2012.

The deadly disorder, which left him with only a 5% chance of survival, causes the heart to race and severely reduces blood flow to vital organs.

Doctors at the University College London Hospital decided to cool the tiny boy's body when his heart began speeding 300 beats per minute, almost double the normal rate at 160 bpm, shortly after his birth.

Physicians wrapped Ives in a blanket filled with a cold gel, causing his body temperature to plummet from 98.6 Fahrenheit to 91.9.

"It was horrible to see him lying there freezing in nothing but a nappy" Ives's mom, Claire Ives said. "He was heavily sedated so (he) didn't move much, and he was cold to touch ' it looked like he was dead."

The newborn's heart rate finally began to slow on the second day of cooling and Claire and her husband were cautiously optimistic.

Edward's parents, however, faced another fright when their son's heart rate started racing again the same day, forcing the doctors to keep cooling Edward for another two days.

"We just had to live minute by minute; we couldn't look ahead because we didn't know what the future held," Claire said.

Edward's heart rate finally normalized on the fourth day. Doctors increased his body temperature by half a degree every 12 hours as the infant slowly showed signs of improvement.

"I couldn't believe it, I was absolutely overjoyed," Claire said. "I wanted to be cautious, because I was aware that he could go into an abnormal rhythm again, but it was amazing."

It was the end of a long ordeal for the courageous mother who said she first knew something "wasn't right" when she was about 35 weeks pregnant.

I had one of those things where you could listen to your baby's heartbeat," Claire explained. "I did it one evening and noticed that his heart was beating really fast."

 Claire, a nurse, alerted doctors who told her that there was "a very high chance" her son would die.

"All I could think of was how I was going to tell my other children, Joscelyn and Hayden ' they'd been so excited to have a baby brother," she said.

It remains unclear what caused Edward's condition.

The baby, however, is now happy and healthy at home.

"There had been so many times when we thought he'd never come home," Claire said. "It's just been wonderful."

Source - NYD

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