Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a special area of a hospital where newborn babies who need intensive medical attention are admitted. This can be due to a serious medical condition that requires immediate special care or in most cases, premature babies.
A baby is considered premature if born before 37 weeks of pregnancy (gestational age). Low birth weight is a common problem with premature babies and is one of the major causes of infant mortality.
A low birth weight can also lead to increased risk of infection and other complications because a tiny body with less fat is not strong enough to eat properly, gain weight or fight infection. Some of the common problems of low birth weight are:
- Low oxygen levels at birth
- Inability to maintain body temperature
- Difficulty feeding and gaining weight
- Breathing problems caused by immature lungs
- Other neurological or gastrointestinal problems
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
In most of the cases babies with low birth weight need specialized care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) until they gain weight and are well enough to go home. The NICU combines advanced technology and trained health care professionals to provide specialized care for the tiniest patients.
Facilities & equipment in NICU
30 beds providing 24 hour care on a one-to-one basis through our experienced neonatologists, specially trained nurses and other support staff. We also have state-of-the-art equipment and devices to constantly monitor the progress of the treatment, such as:
- Neonatal Care Incubator
This is an apparatus used to maintain environmental conditions suitable for a new born baby, mostly for premature babies, with the following functions:
- Oxygenation – Infant respiratory distress syndrome is one of the main causes of infant mortality. Oxygenation or the supply of oxygen to the lungs, is done through head hood, nasal cannula, C-PAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) through oxygen by head.
- Observation – Modern neonatal intensive care involves sophisticated measurement of temperature, blood pressure, respiration, cardiac function and brain activity. Timely readings of these devices can be viewed and recorded from outside, without disturbing the baby.
- Keeping an ambient environment for the baby, free from infection, noise, drafts and excessive handling.
- Provision of nutrition through intravenous catheters or nasal gastric tubes
- Administration of medication
- Paediatric Ventilator
This is a mechanical breathing machine that delivers warm and humidified air to a baby’s lungs through an endotracheal tube. The amount of oxygen, air pressure and number of breaths per minute can be regulated according to requirements.
- Bilirubin lights – Also known as bili lights, this is a bright blue fluorescent light placed over baby’s incubator. Babies born with jaundice usually receive this phototherapy treatment for a few days.
- Pulse Oxymeter – A pulse oximeter is a small U-shaped device that’s wrapped around your baby’s foot or hand and secured with a stretchy bandage. It uses a light sensor to measure the level of oxygen in your baby’s blood. This sensor doesn’t hurt your baby at all. It helps doctors and nurses determine whether your baby needs more or less oxygen, while reducing the need for painful blood tests.
- Infant Warmer – used to maintain the body temperature of newborn infants. This is done to prevent neonatal hypothermia especially in preterm infants.
- Blood Pressure Monitor – A blood pressure monitor is a machine connected to a small blood pressure cuff wrapped around baby’s arm or leg that automatically takes baby’s blood pressure at regular times and displays the numbers on a screen.
- Cardiopulmonary Monitor – This machine is attached to the baby’s chest to track heart and breathing rates. The monitor displays information on the screen, which can be printed on paper. An alarm will sound if your baby’s heart or breathing rate becomes too fast or too slow.
- Infusion Pump – A medical device that delivers fluids, such as nutrients and medications, into a patient’s body in controlled amounts.
- Central Line – A central venous line (CVL) is a long, soft, plastic tube that is put into a large vein in the chest to give nutrients and medicines to a baby for a long time.
- Endotracheal Tube – This small plastic tube is inserted through a baby’s nose or mouth down into the trachea to help breathing.
- Umbilical Catheter – This is used to draw blood painlessly, without having to repeatedly stick the baby with needles. Also used to give fluids, blood, nutrients and medication through this tube.