La Tin is a department where all the pathologies of the newborn born preterm or at the end of pregnancy are treated, equipped with the most advanced technological machinery and in which a highly specialized staff in the neonatology area works. Here it is possible to save newborns up to 23-24 weeks of gestation and weighing less than 750 grams
Tin stands for Neonatal intensive care and it is the department where the medical and surgical pathologies of the preterm infant or come to term of pregnancy. It is comparable to an intensive care for adults in which, however, newborns are hospitalized.
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How does the Tin
Not all hospitals are equipped with this department, because they do not always have all the specialties necessary to assist young patients. In addition, over the years we have tried to create a few specialized centers in order to accumulate experience in the care of newborns and increase the chances of their survival without disability.
The results of the last 20 years
“Thanks to the experience gained in the last 20 years in these special wards, today it has been possible to make newborns survive up to 23-24 weeks of gestation, which corresponds to about half the normal duration of a pregnancy, and weighing even less than 750 grams. Among other things, in the best centers more than 50% of extremely premature babies have a normal development »explains Dr. Stefano Martinelli, director of Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care of the Niguarda Metropolitan Hospital in Milan.
Within the Neonatal Intensive Care, all the pathologies that can affect newborns are treated, in order to offer them complete assistance.
«The ward is equipped with highly technological instruments, such as monitors, mechanical respirators and infusion pumps, which are essential to keep young patients alive who have immaturity in the functioning of organs and systems; immaturity which are all the more serious the sooner the birth has taken place than the presumed date of birth “.
Who works inside the Tin
Inside this structure he works highly specialized staff in the area neonatological: from surgeons, ophthalmologists, cardiologists, pediatric cardiac surgeons, to nurologists, neurosurgeons and anesthetists, always pediatric. “In many cases, the success of the therapies depends precisely on the synergies that are created between the various specialists” continues the expert.
Of particular importance is the role of nurses who attended specific training schools to work in this ward: «Their work is essential to assist newborns who need continuous care. Given their high specialization, they can provide doctors with very important information on the clinical conditions of the children with whom they are constantly in contact ».
How long does the baby stay in the NICU
«The stay in Tin of the newborn depends on the moment in which it is born and on its conditions. They usually stay in this ward for several weeks: in more complex cases, even 4-5 months and, sometimes, even longer ».
When their conditions stabilize, they are discharged: “But given the long hospital stay, they need an adequate follow up to monitor their health and development conditions afterwards ».
The role of parents in neonatal intensive care
«One of the most important features of this ward is the possibility given to parents to be close to their child 24 hours a day. This is a decisive element for them and for their child’s recovery» underlines Martinelli.
As soon as the clinical conditions allow it, then, a series of collateral therapies precisely in order to develop the relationship between the parents and the child: «For example the pouch therapy, therefore skin-to-skin contact between mom or dad and the baby, even if ventilatory support is needed. In fact, it has been shown that this type of contact improves the clinical condition of the child, in particular his state of oxygenation ».
Another fundamental point, to which particular attention is paid in Tin is the stimulation of breastfeeding: “Breast milk, in fact, guarantees safety for the good continuation of care, even more than what happens for a full-term newborn”.
When the neonatal intensive care unit is needed
The Tin is fundamental in the case of a preterm birth, while “in physiological full-term pregnancies, it may not be a criterion for choosing a hospital to be born in – continues the doctor -. The important thing is to make sure that there is a neonatal transport system organized and structured in such a way that if the newborn needs more intensive care, a prompt and safe transfer can be provided to the Tin of another hospital “.
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