Doctors Freeze Baby for 4 Days to Save His Life

OMG 62

tiny footThere's nothing worse than when your baby is sick and you feel powerless to help him, so you can only imagine how awful it was when a mom in the U.K. found out her baby had a rare heart condition and may not survive.

Little Edward Ives was born with supra ventricular tachycardia or SVT, which was causing his tiny heart to beat at over 300 beats per minute. He only had a five percent chance of survival, but physicians at University College London Hospital decided to try a breakthrough treatment to save his life.

Doctors froze Edward for four whole days, bringing his core body temperature down to 33.3 degrees C.

Yes, they froze him to slow his metabolism and prevent damage to his organs. They wrapped him in a blanket filled with cold gel, and his poor mother had to watch him lying there, freezing, wearing nothing but a diaper.

More from The Stir: Doctor Saves Baby's Life With a Pair of Gloves

Claire Ives says, "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."

She also noted that her precious baby was "cold to touch," and "looked like he was dead."

If that isn't heartbreaking enough, she had to deal with the baby being shocked by a defibrillator five times when his heart rate got too low.

OMG. I can't even imagine what this poor mother was going through while her baby received that treatment. A couple weeks ago, my own son had a very high fever from the flu, and I put him in a lukewarm bath to try and bring his temperature down. I sat there and watched him shivering with his little lip quivering and it just about broke my heart -- so thinking about what Clare Ives went through makes me want to burst into tears.

Thankfully, baby Edward's story has a happy ending. After being "frozen" for four days, his heart started beating normally, and his parents were able to take him home a month later. And now their journey with a thriving, happy baby begins, which is something I'm sure they'll never take for granted.

Have you ever heard of a "freezing" treatment like this?


Image via Kyle and Kelly Adams/Flickr

baby health, illness


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nonmember avatar R

my son was put on a cooling mat for three days - temp brought down to 93 I believe.

Blues... Blueshark77

I've heard of them doing that for heart attack patients. It would be so scary to do that to a newborn, but it worked and doesn't sound like he would have survived without it. I'm glad the little guy is home with his parents now.

tuffy... tuffymama

Science is amazing and frightening. I am glad it turned out well. I hope the baby continues to grow happily and healthily.

nonmember avatar Guest

This procedure is called induced hypothermia and is becoming quite prevelant in cutting edge NICUs and used for many purposes, especially babies with neurological hits, in NICUs today. The NICU where I am a nurse has done this numerous times throughout the past year and I have seen it done even several years ago. It can work wonderfully when implemented quickly and done properly! Glad this baby is doing well.

jalaz77 jalaz77

Yes. It is also done for serious head injuries.

nonmember avatar Tiff

Just so you know, while trying to bring down a fever you want to do it in a way to prevent your child from shivering. Shivering is going to cause the body to work to warm itself up which is the opposite of what you are trying to do.

Jespren Jespren

As others noted, this is now fairly common in NICUs for several conditions. My eldest was in a 72 hour cooling prodical for a hypoxic brain injury as a newborn. They induced paralysis so no shaking, but wrapped in a cooling blanket with cooling IVs. He was very cold to the touch. But at 4 he has no know developmental delays or brain issues from the hypoxia, it works very well.

singl... singlemama0905

Not sure how low they brought my nieces temp down, but she was put on a cooling pad after she was born for a few days.  She was having a ton of seizures and it was experimental so my brother and his wife had them give it a doubt in any of the doctors minds once she was transported to duke to do it that it saved her life.  This was just over 3 years ago

pagan... paganmommy4

What I learned to bring down a childs temperature in a safe manner when you don't have access to medication for them and they are over 1 yr old is popsicles (otterpops) at least 4 to 5 of them while your child may shiver a bit, it does bring down their core temp to normal.


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