Protecting premature infants
Premature birth is a major problem, affecting more than 1 in 10 babies globally. Currently, infants born between 28 and 37 weeks are housed within neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) which support their cardiorespiratory function and development to full term. This solution, however, yields severe health complications for infants born extremely premature, i.e. <28 weeks, as their organs lack maturity to undergo the complex physiologic transition to extra-uterine life.
The exposure to air is a harsh physiologic adaptation for extremely premature infants, and leads to numerous complication including breathing, cardiac, neurological and metabolic problems, with negative long-term outcome. Despite advances in medicine, for extremly premature infants NICUs are not an adequate substitute for the protective environment of the maternal womb.Read more