Investigations for infection include blood sample, spine fluid sample and urine sample. We start antibiotics while waiting for the results. If your baby remains well and the results do not show infection, we stop antibiotics after 48 hours.
Lumber Puncture (LP):
This looks for infection in the spinal fluid (meningitis). A needle is inserted into the lower back to get a sample of spinal fluid.
Your baby will need different kinds of blood tests. Blood is taken by pricking the heel or a vein. Sometimes blood samples are taken from a temporary tube in the umbilical cord (UAC).
Red blood cells contain Haemoglobin and carry oxygen around the body. If the haemoglobin is low baby might need a transfusion of blood. All the blood products are thoroughly tested and all donors in the UK are extensively screened.
Platelets are the cells in the blood which help in clot formation around any wound. So if platelets are low there is increased risk of bleeding including bleeding in the brain. The doctors will explain to you when baby requires platelet transfusion.
Fresh frozen plasma (FFP) Transfusion:
If your baby has a clotting problem he might need transfusion of Fresh Frozen Plasma which contains clotting factors.
If baby needs support from a ventilator (breathing machine) we have to put a tube into baby's breathing pipe and attach it to the machine. This is called intubation. We use medications to calm baby down before the process but in an emergency it can be done without medication.
An air leak can occur in between the linings of a poorly baby's lung and may make baby very ill. We insert a plastic tube through the chest wall to remove the leaking extra air. This tube usually remains in for several days until no more air is leaking. Baby will have pain relief before and after the procedure.
Xrays are done to assess the chest, abdomen (belly) and to make sure that tubes are in the correct place. We use a portable x-ray machine in the Neonatal Unit.
Ultrasound scan of head:
Premature babies are at risk of bleeding inside the brain. We regularly do head scans to look for this. It's the same kind of machine which is used to scan babies inside the womb. A gel is put over baby's soft spot and the probe is placed on top of it to scan inside the brain. This procedure is not painful.
MRI of head:
This is a very detailed scan of the brain. The doctors will explain to you when it is required and how it will help in understanding baby's problems.
Jaundice is a very common problem in newborn babies. We treat it with a special light (phototherapy). Your baby will be placed under the special light with only a nappy on so that majority of skin is exposed. Baby will also have an eye shield. Baby can develop a rash on the body but this usually fades after phototherapy is stopped.
This is a procedure when baby's blood is removed slowly and replaced with donor blood. We may have to do this if the jaundice levels are extremely high.