LONDON (TIP): In a pioneering treatment, UK doctors have given a new lease of life to a baby suffering from a fatal heart condition by ‘freezing’ his body for four days. Edward Ives was born with a condition called supra ventricular tachycardia (SVT), which causes the heart to race dangerously fast with just a five per cent chance of survival.
The baby survived, thanks to the ‘miraculous’ treatment at University College London Hospital, in which doctors dropped his core temperature by almost four degrees Centigrade, ‘The Telegraph’ reported. Edward’s heart was pumping at over 300 beats per minute at the time of his birth last August, double the normal rate of 160.
Doctors wrapped the boy in a blanket of cold gel which dropped his temperature from 37 to 33.3 degree C, to slow his metabolism, to prevent damage to vital organs such as the brain. After two days they slowly raised his temperature – but his heart rate rose again so they chilled him for a further two days. “It was horrible to see him lying there freezing in nothing but a nappy. He was heavily sedated so didn’t move much, and he was cold to touch – it looked like he was dead, said his mother Claire Ives. “All I wanted to do was scoop him up and give him a warm cuddle. I just had to keep reminding myself that it was saving his life,” she said. During his treatment, Edward also received shocks from a defibrillator five times, to return his heart from a potentially fatal rhythm to a safer one.
On the fourth day, his heart started slowing to more normal levels, after which the medics slowly increased the temperature by one degree every 24 hours. “As soon as his heart started beating normally everything began to improve. He had been really puffy because his kidneys weren’t working, but all of a sudden he looked like a normal baby again,” Ives said. A month later Ives and her husband Phillip were finally allowed to take him home.