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Doctors 'freeze' baby boy to treat heart condition

united kingdom supraventricular tachycardia cooling gel 300 beats a minute

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#1 Hum


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Posted 14 February 2013 - 00:17

A baby was ‘frozen’ for four days to keep him alive. Edward Ives had just a five per cent chance of survival as his heart was racing at more than 300 beats a minute.

So doctors tried to force it to slow down by lowering his temperature.

The newborn’s parents nervously watched as their son lay sedated and cold to the touch – wrapped up in a blanket filled with cooling gel.

But the pioneering treatment worked and, on the evening of the fourth day, his heartbeat finally became normal.

‘It was horrible to see him lying there, freezing in nothing but a nappy,’ said mother Claire Ives, 29. ‘It looked like he was dead.

‘All I wanted to do was scoop him up and give him a warm cuddle. I just had to keep reminding myself that it was saving his life.’

Mrs Ives, a nurse, first guessed something was wrong with Edward when she was 35 weeks pregnant and heard his heart beating quickly.

Tests confirmed her suspicions. Her unborn child had supraventricular tachycardia and would need to be delivered immediately.

She and husband Phillip, of Stevenage, Hertfordshire, feared the worst.

But after being slowly warmed back up to 37C (98.6F) from 33.3C, Edward left hospital a month after his birth in August at University College London Hospital.

‘When I got him home, it felt like a dream come true,’ added Mrs Ives.


#2 Kondrath


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Posted 14 February 2013 - 00:19

Wasn't this a House episode?

#3 SierraSonic



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Posted 14 February 2013 - 00:32

Wasn't this a House episode?

Sounds like it, but it doesn't seem like they spent days trying other things first. :p

Congrats to everyone involved.

#4 Growled


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Posted 14 February 2013 - 00:41

That's amazing. Glad he made it through.

#5 OP Hum


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Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:56

I wonder how the cold temperature fixed his heartbeat.

#6 DocM


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Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:57

It often doesn't, but it can let you survive in stasis while repairs or other therapies could be done, something that is working itself into use by emergency squads and hospitals.


Therapeutic hypothermia / suspended animation / hibernation tech has been advancing fast the last few years. This is far from the bleeding edge.