If you have spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit, you have probably noticed all of the machines that surround you and the babies being cared for. Spending time in the NICU can be an overwhelming, stressful and emotional experience, but staying informed can be a helpful way of coping through that time. We thought we would help make things a little bit easier by explaining some of the technology you may see during your hospital’s NICU.
The technology you see in the NICU is crucial to saving the lives of preemies, especially during the first hour after birth. This hour, also known as “The Golden Hour,” is crucial for the long-term health of the child. When hospitals have the right equipment, there is a much higher probability that the baby will develop without any sever lifelong ailments.
Technology found in the NICU has come a long way in the last several decades, and it is because of this that children born early are surviving more and more.
Here is a look at some of the top requested machines from NICUs in the United States:
The Giraffe Omnibed:
The Giraffe Omnibed is a state-of the-art piece of equipment which provides premature and ill babies with a controlled, stress-reduced environment, much like that of a mother’s womb. It helps regulate body temperature and features humidity control to avoid moisture loss through thin skin. The OmniBed has a mattress that can be rotated 360 degrees and large drop down doors providing quick and easy access to the baby from both sides. The beds have built-in scale for weighing and an unobtrusive x-ray tray if scans are needed. Most NICU babies are too fragile to tolerate the movement and temperature changes imposed when using a simple incubator. Babies on ventilators can lose their breathing tube when moved, therefore putting the infant in severe respiratory distress and greatly compromising their medical status. Moving a critical infant, especially from one environment to another, causes additional physiological stress which inhibits the healing process for the infant. The Giraffe Omnibed prevents the interruption in healing that a regular incubator might cause.
Airborne 750i Transport Incubator:
This device is used to transport a baby to either a hospital with a high level NICU, or can be used to transport the baby within the hospital where it was born. It can function like a portable intensive care unit and allows the delivery team to provide high-level care to infants until they can be safely admitted to the NICU. A specialized transport incubator provides a warm, safe environment for a baby up to 15 pounds. The incubator has the technology to monitor a baby’s heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, blood pressure and oxygen level. When even seconds count, the availability of important medical equipment like this transport isolette makes all the difference.
The nasal bi-level ventilation (Infant Flow-SiPAP), is a non-invasive ventilation mode used for the treatment of respiratory distress in an infant. This approach is a strategy that assists infants who are spontaneously breathing yet require some respiratory assistance. Delivery of the blended gas is through a face mask or nasal prongs. Infant Flow-SiPAP provides two continuous positive airway pressure levels that cycle from low CPAP pressure to high CPAP pressure, simulating periodic sighs. These periodic sighs are known as the sigh cycle and occur at a rate specified by the clinician based on the needs of the infant. This enables that infants receive the blended gas they need to breathe while keeping them comfortable.
Panda iRes Warmer:
This device is an innovative recessed heater that lets doctors and nurses in the NICU see and access their infant patients while simulating the environment of the womb and keeping them warm and comfortable. The Panda iRes Warmer provides direct, comfortable heat to the infant with an overhead heater while its compact size also allows more room for the patient’s family to interact.
Pediatric Neonatal Echocardiography Probe:
Echocardiography, also known as an Echo, is the term used to describe an ultrasound scanning of the heart. This screening tool is used routinely in modern clinical practice, and is a safe, reliable and accurate method of looking inside the body at organ order and function to ensure systems are working properly. Due to its non-invasive nature, it removes the need for open-heart surgery and eliminates the countless dangers and risks associated with surgical procedures performed on infants.
These are just some of the devices used in the NICU to monitor preemies’ health and to ensure their healing. Without these advancements and state-of-the-art machinery, preemies face potentially lifelong complications such as cerebral palsy, impaired cognitive skills, vision and hearing problems, as well as behavioral and psychological problems. Brave Beginnings is proud to provide hospitals with this type of equipment, giving preemies the chance to survive and thrive.