The newborn son of Claire Ives had to be “freezed” by the doctors to survive after his birth. He had been given only a five percent chance of survival due to SVT (supraventricular tachycardia) before being delivered early through emergency cesarean at the University College London Hospital.
His heart rate prior to birth had been of about 300 beats per minute while common rate of an infant is usually around 160. Destabilized electrical impulses in the heart muscle producing the abnormality returned a few hours after the birth, so the doctors had to act rapidly to prevent failure of internal organs and other possibly lethal results.
Attempts to reset the heartbeat using the electrical shocking technique and pulse-slowing medications did not do much, so medics had to turn to the last resort that had not been ever used before. That is lowering infant's body temperature to 33 C (91 F), thus slowing electrical circuit in the heart and protecting vital organs.
“We’d gone through all the usual maneuvers that usually work in babies, giving drugs … trying to shock the heart, the baby and get [a healthy heart rate back],” said Dr. Nicola Robertson, one of the members of neonatal crew at the University College London Hospital.
The battle continued for several hours, and then for several days. While administering medication doctors tried restoring normal body temperature only to observe the returning tachycardia. So the cold gel blanket had to be used again.
After all, decelerating the warming process to only half a degree every 12 hours the team managed to recover healthy and stable heart beat. 10 days after birth the mother was able to hold her son. One month later they both returned home with the promising prognosis of no further hospitalization for SVT.
“It’s mаde me аpprecіаte аll the smаll thіngs аbout my chіldren,” sаіd Clаіre Ives. ”It’s the best thіng ever to brіng hіm home”.
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