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Doctors ‘Freeze’ Newborn to Save His Life

newbornClaire Ives delivered her son, Edward, five weeks early because of an elevated heart rate. Edward’s heart was beating about 300 times a minute which is almost double the normal 160.

As ABCNews reports, baby Edward was diagnosed with  supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).

That’s when electrical impulses in the heart cause irregular and rapid heartbeats that can lead to heart failure. Edward was given a five percent chance of survival.

“I just thought he was going to die,” Ives tells ABC News.

After he was born Edward’s heart acted up again. Doctors tried everything but nothing worked. Until they lowered his body temperature to slow his heart rate. They used a cold gel blanket to get his body temperature down to 91 degrees. This slowed the electrical current in his heart and protected his organs but whenever Edward was warmed up his heart would race.

So they used the gel blanket and medication to cool his body but this time, instead of warming him up quickly they slowly raised his temperature; half a degree every twelve hours. Basically, Edward was frozen for three days as they slowly returned his temperature to normal.

It worked. His heart rate remained stable and ten days after his birth Claire Ives held her son for the first time. A month later she and her husband got to take him home to be with his older siblings.

Edward is now a happy healthy six-month-old. Doctors say he is unlikely to need further hospitalizations but he will be closely monitored to make sure his heart is okay.

Can you imagine watching your sweet newborn freezing in nothing but a diaper?

“All I wanted to do was scoop him up and give him a warm cuddle. I just had to keep reminding myself that it was saving his life.”

So awful. But technology sure is amazing. The procedure is called induced hypothermia and is apparently becoming quite prevalent in some NICUs for many purposes. Have you ever heard of it?

Photo credit: madeformums.com

You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who.

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