Doctors at the University College Hospital of London 'froze' newborn baby boy, Edward Ives, for four days in August of 2012 until his heart rate stabilized.
According to the New York Daily News, the baby's heart rate was nearly double the normal rate for newborns due to a condition called supraventricular tachycardia, which is when the heart is beating at a rate of 300 beats per minute as opposed to a normal newborn heart rate of 160.
Doctors wrapped the baby in a thermal blanket filled with a cooling gel that lowered his temperature from a normal 98.6 degrees to 91.9.
On the second day of treatment, the baby's heart had slowed, but when the cold blanket was removed, his heart beat went back up to 300 beats per minute, which required two more days of cooling.
“It was horrible to see him lying there freezing in nothing but a nappy,” said Claire Ives, Edward’s mother. “He was heavily sedated, so [he] didn’t move much. And he was cold to touch. It looked like he was dead.”
After four days of cold therapy, the baby's heart rate slowed to normal and stayed there. Doctors began to warm his body back up slowly, at a rate of a half degree every 12 hours. Gradual warming revives infants in order to prevent cell damage.
Babies have a strong ability to survive cold temperatures. Infants' organs are less oxygen-starved by the time the metabolic slowdown occurs. A baby's body cooled to a temperature of 61 degrees needs only 20 percent of its normal oxygen intake.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was absolutely overjoyed,” Claire Ives added. “I wanted to be cautious because I was aware that he could go into an abnormal rhythm again, but it was amazing. There had been so many times when we thought he’d never come home. It’s just been wonderful.”
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Today, Edward Ives is a normal baby boy, growing up alongside his older siblings, Joscelyn and Hayden.
Source: New York Daily News