Doctors ‘freeze’ baby at University College London Hospital to save his life

Dr Giles Kendall, consultant neonateologist at UCLH, helped save the life of a baby with 'baby cooli

Dr Giles Kendall, consultant neonateologist at UCLH, helped save the life of a baby with 'baby cooling' - Credit: Archant

A pioneering treatment which involves lowering a baby’s body temperature has saved the life of an infant at University College London Hospital (UCLH).

The child was born with a condition that made his heart beat too quickly.

The “baby cooling” technique has been used to help babies survive who have been deprived of oxygen during birth and have a brain injury.

It involves wrapping the infant in a blanket of cold gel and lowering his or her temperature until it is almost four degrees below normal levels. This process slows down the organs and can prevent damage.

In May 2010 the treatment was endorsed by the NHS.


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Giles Kendall, consultant in neo-natal medicine at UCLH, said: “We’ve been cooling for quite a while. Initially we did it as part of research, but now it’s standard care for babies who have been starved of oxygen.

“A lot of babies who have abnormal heart rhythms are amenable to medicine, but in the case of this baby, he hadn’t responded and he had also received some electric shocks.

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“We did this treatment in conjunction with normal medicine.

“It was the first time we’ve used cooling outside of babies who have been starved of oxygen at birth.”

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