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Neonatology Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy A "neonate" is a newborn human being. A neonatologist is a physician practicing neonatology, the study of neonates, and holds either an M.D. or D.O. degree. Neonatologists initially receive training in Pediaytrics, then complete an additional three year training. in neonatology. Neonatology is a subspecialty in Pediatrics which is involved with the medical care of newborn infants, especially ill or premature newborn infants. It is a hospital-based specialty, and usually practiced in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). The principal patients are newborn infants who are ill or require special medical care due to prematurity, low birth weight, intrauterine growth retardation, sepsis, birth asphyxia, or congenital malformations (birth defects). Neonatologists focus on the care of newborns who require ICU hospitalization. They may also act as general pediatricians, providing evaluation of the newborn and care in the hospital where they are based. While high infant mortality rates were recognized as early as the 1860s,modern neonatal intensive care is a relatively recent advance. In 1898 Dr. Joseph B. De Lee, in Chicago, Illinois, established the first premature infant incubator station. In 1952 Dr. Virginia Apgar described the APGAR score scoring system as a means of evaluating a newborn's condition. In 1965 the first American newborn intensive care unit (NICU) was opened in New Haven, Connecticut and in 1975 the American Board of Pediatrics established sub-board certification for neonatology. The 1960s brought rapid advancement in neonatal services with the advent of mechanical ventilation of the newborn. This allowed for survival of smaller and smaller newborns. In the 1980s, the development of pulmonary surfactant replacement therapy further improved survival of extremely premature infants and decreased chronic lung disease, one of the complications of mechanical ventilation. At the [present time, newborns as small as 450 grams and as young as 22 weeks gestation have a tiny chance of survival. In modern NICUs, infants weighing 1000 grams and at 27 weeks gestation have an approximately 90% chance of survival and the majority have normal neurological development. These statistics apply to the U.S. and may not be equivalent to statistics of other countries.



The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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