How We Help
Leah's Polar Hugs aims to broaden and improve access to the right medical equipment by helping hospital NICUs purchase the cooling equipment needed to treat babies born with HIE. Equipment can be used directly in the NICUs or in medical transport to a NICU.
Currently, there is only one treatment available for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy known as hypothermia therapy, or "cooling" therapy. This treatment reduces the newborn's brain and body temperature to a semi-hypothermic level of about 33-35 degrees Celsius for 72 hours before slowly being re-warmed. This process reduces brain activity and allows the brain to begin healing.
There are two ways that cooling treatment can be administered: using a cooling cap for selective brain cooling ("head cooling") or using a cooling blanket ("whole-body cooling"). Either option is effective; the choice to use one over the other depends on what equipment a particular NICU has. Both use multiple ancillary machines to monitor the newborn's seizure activity, body temperature, and other vital signs.
A cooling cap is a flexible cap that runs cold fluid through channels in the cap. This cold liquid draws heat from the newborns body, reducing the temperature of the brain.
The newborn is placed on a cooling blanket. The cooling blanket circulates cold fluid to reduce the temperature of the newborn's entire body.