BBC News reports about a new system that is being tested to alert neonatologists about sudden deteriorations in a baby’s health:
Hospitals already use commercial monitors to check vital signs that allow the doctor to tell how a baby is doing.
However, looking at real-time readings — as they happen — will not always alert doctors that there is a problem until it is quite advanced.
Professor McIntosh said: “For example, we know that if a baby’s lungs rupture when ventilated it takes about two hours to make the diagnosis and about 40% of such babies would die.
“With our system we can pick up almost all of those within 10 minutes.
“That clearly gives a lot of time to manage the baby and get them out of the downwards spiral that they might otherwise get into,” he said.
The device comprises a normal computer with advanced software that took the team 10 years to develop.
The software looks at the data recorded by the commercial monitors and looks for downward trends in a baby’s vital signs long before the baby reaches crisis point.
The team are still working out the best way to alert doctors when such trends are spotted, which could include a buzzer and a written warning that would flash across the computer screen.
Professor McIntosh said they have been monitoring about 10 babies at a time using their new device.
The team have three years funding to continue their work, involving more than 2,000 premature babies.
You can also listen to the BBC report about how this system works.