31. July 19

Innovating to help newborns breathe

It’s always heartbreaking to learn about a medical problem that’s largely been addressed in the United States but continues to plague low- and middle-income countries. That’s why it was heartening to read about the NeoBreathe, a device developed by two former fellows with the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign, in the new issue of Stanford Medicine magazine. This foot-operated resuscitator was designed for clinicians who often must work alone when a newborn struggles to take a first breath. These workers are trying to prevent birth asphyxia, which causes about 625,000 infant deaths each year. As writer Helen Santoro explains: In the United States, resuscitating a baby who suffers from birth asphyxia is relatively simple. When a newborn fails to breathe, one clinician holds a respirator mask to the baby’s face while another person squeezes a ventilation bag, pushing air into the baby’s lungs. But in low- and middle-income countries such as India, where staff is more limited, resuscitation is not so straightforward. An individual clinician commonly resuscitates the baby alone, using one hand to perform a triple maneuver of a jaw thrust, chin lift and neck tilt, sealing the respirator mask around the baby’s mouth, and using the other hand to squeeze the bag. Find out more about this emotional topic on the original report of ‘Scope, the Stanford Medicine blog‘.


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