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High-Tech Care for Premature Babies, Close to Home

Bubbles have always been child-friendly. Now, they’re becoming a key ingredient in helping the tiniest babies breathe on their own.

A Bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) system is improving outcomes for premature babies at Harris Methodist H•E•B Hospital.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) recently began using Bubble CPAP, a breathing assistance system showing promising results in decreasing chronic lung disease in premature infants.

Harris Methodist H•E•B Hospital was the first to implement the system in Northeast Tarrant County and is one of only three hospitals in the Metroplex currently using Bubble CPAP.

Premature babies often have underdeveloped lungs. CPAP is a breathing system used to deliver airflow and pressure to an infant’s lungs through short prongs in the nose. The air pressure helps keep the lungs open at the end of exhalation and allows the baby to initiate
his or her own breathing.

Adding bubbles to the process is making it even more effective, decreasing the need to put some babies on mechanical ventilators. Though ventilators are necessary in some cases to save babies’ lives, they can permanently alter lung development and cause chronic lung disease, says Randy Grubbs, M.D., neonatologist on the medical staff at Harris Methodist H•E•B Hospital. Chronic lung disease can lead to respiratory infections and asthma. It also
has been associated with neurological and developmental setbacks.

“Bubble CPAP is a very simple approach,” says Grubbs. “But I think it will ultimately become the best practice for NICUs nationwide.”

For more information about the NICU at Harris Methodist H•E•B Hospital, call
1-888-4-HARRIS (1-888-442-7747) or visit www.TexasHealth.org/HEB.

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