WHAT IS A NEONATAL INTENSIVE CARE UNIT OR NICU?
Much neonatal work is focused on creating an environment where a baby can complete its development and overcome any complications that may arise from a premature birth. More than ever the technology present within the NICUs at Blaauwberg and N1 City Hospitals allows us to initialise biomimicry principles to deal with extreme prematurity.
With quality control overseen by the Vermont Oxford Network that compares complications and outcomes from over 1000 units worldwide, we are striving to incorporate non invasive monitoring as standard of care for carbon dioxide, glucose, oxygen and electrolyte monitoring.
HOW THE NICU WORKS
Other technology at our disposal includes incubators that simulate a uterine environment by nurturing the infant in a high setting ventilators that minimize lung trauma; micro technology that allows us to gain vascular access to umbilical vessels; intravenous nutrition substitutes maternal utero nutrition; immature skin protection by administering emollients that are similar to vernix, less damaging adhesives and managing neonatal jaundice with phototherapy.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT
The neonatal ICUs are closed intensive care units run by certified Dr Ricky Dippenaar and assisted by sub specialists covering all genres of paediatrics. It is also affiliated with an academic institution.
Here they practice evidence-based medicine in: Paediatric neurology, pulmonology, gastroenterology, rheumatology, ophthalmology, dermatology, oncology, hematology, neurosurgery fetal surgery, nephrology, paediatric surgery, audiology, cardiology, genetics and orthopedics among others.
A preterm infant is generally kept in ICU until it has stabilised at a healthy 36-week level. But this is very dependent on disease process, complications, feeding and a readiness to go home.
HOW THE NICU CAN HELP
In addition to providing health care, Dr Ricky Dippenaar’s NICUs at Blaauwberg and N1 City are certified to train neonatologists in private (as an extension of the University of Cape Town).
In so doing, in a highly academic environment, doctors and students continue to challenge conventional practice to optimise health care, provide impactful research, and push boundaries in preterm birth.