Paediatrics Hospital No 1 in Ho Chi Minh City has become the first
hospital in the country to successfully apply the techniques of reducing
body temperature to cure a choking newborn.
"It is a
great success for medicine in this country as choking is one of the
three leading causes of fatalities and after-effects in newborns," said
the head of the hospital's Newborn Recovery Ward, Cam Ngoc Phuong.
In Vietnam , about 3-5 live births per 1,000 suffer from choking,
which cuts off oxygen to the victims' brains, leading to epilepsy and
cerebral palsy, she said. The global rate is 2 per 1,000 live births.
The newborn can chokie if the mother begins labour too late or too
fast, the foetus's position is unnormal, the labour lasts too long or
the delivery is difficult, said Phuong.
can receive supportive treatment such as oxygen, heart and lung
medications and convulsion-prevention medicines.
"The treatment can prevent injuries to the heart, liver and kidneys, but it cannot improve wounds in brain," said Phuong.
The technique of reducing the newborn's body temperature has been
applied in the US and Europe since 2002, she noted. This year, the
hospital assigned two doctors to study the technique in Denmark .
With the technique, doctors use special equipment to reduce the
newborn's temperature to 33-34 degree Celsius within 72 hours to
decrease the number of brain cells being damaged by the lack of oxygen
and prevent injuries caused by brain oedema.
"It is not
complicated to apply the technique, but the most important thing is
supervising the baby's condition during the treatment period," Phuong
The only difficulty in the technique is that the expense for the machine of reducing the body temperature is high, she added.
Ho Tan Thanh Binh, a doctor in the ward, said the first baby in the
country to receive the technique was a 3.6kg girl born by caesarian
section in February. After the delivery, the baby lost consciousness.
After being treated with the technique, she recovered and was discharged from hospital when she was 12 days old, said Binh.
So far, seven newborns have received the technique, and were discharged from the hospital in stable condition.
"The technique should be applied for newborns under six hours old," Binh said.
After being discharged from the hospital, the newborn should be
re-checked every four or six months and receive physical therapy for the
best results, he said.
Phuong noted that the treatment
costs the patient's family about 2 million VND (100 USD). "The price is
much cheaper than that in foreign countries as we cover the costs of the
equipment only, while other countries factor in costs of beds and
services" said Phuong.
Doctors from the hospital have
presented the technique in seminars in HCM City and provinces in
the central region in the hopes of expanding the technique all over the
"If any hospital in the country wants to apply
the method, we are ready to assign a doctor and nurse to guide them,"
Meanwhile, Nguyen Thu Trang, a doctor from the National Paediatrics Hospital in Hanoi lauded the technique.
"But the costs of the equipment is high and the hospital needs support from medical organisations to buy it," Trang said.-VNA