Doctors decided to “freeze” a baby boy for four days to keep him alive, according to a Feb. 15 ABC News report. Baby Edward Ives was born at 35 weeks with superventricular tachycardia (SVT) and given a five percent chance of survival.
According to ABC News, “SVT is caused by improper electrical impulses in the heart that leads to an irregular rapid heartbeat heart, which then can lead to heart failure or affect internal organs.”
With his heart racing at more than 300 beats per minute in utero, nearly double the normal 160, he was delivered via emergency cesearean at the University College London hospital. “I just thought he was going to die,” said his mother Claire Ives.
After unsuccessfully trying to slow down baby Edward’s heart rate using various tried and true methods, the innovate doctors decided to try lowering his body temperature.
“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, a neonatal doctor at University College London Hospital.
The doctors subsequently wrapped baby Edward in a blanket filled with cooling gel, which kept his body temperature at around a low 91 degrees, protecting his organs and slowing the electrical circuit to his heart. About four days later, his heart rate normalized and the medical team warmed him back up to 98.6 degrees.
“It was really strange highs and lows because he was doing extremely poorly,” said Ives. “But, oh, thank God! It worked.” Ten days after delivering her baby, Ives could finally hold her son. She took him home a month later.
Now a healthy six-month old, baby Edward has an excellent prognosis and is unlikely to need further hospitalizations for SVT although he is being closely monitored to see if the irregular heartbeat returns.
“It's made me appreciate all the small things about my children,” said Ives, who is planning to run a half-marathon to raise awareness about neonatal SVT. “It's the best thing ever to bring him home.”
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