Medical Breakthroughs: Nitric Preemies

A study at the University of Chicago offers new hope for many of the 60,000 premature babies that are born every year.

For one girl who was born weighing only one pound and 15 ounces and 13 weeks premature, at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Babies her size usually fight an uphill battle against lung, heart and brain complications. Survivors can develop learning and coordination difficulties.

A study at the hospital for preemies has nitric oxide added to their regular air supply. The study began five years ago and now the results are in.

Doctors found that when they gave nitric oxide to premature babies soon after birth we were able to significantly decrease many of the complications of prematurity.

It was found that preemies with mild respiratory distress, the nitric oxide reduced brain and heart complications by 47-percent. The death rate dropped by 17-percent points. And there were no significant problems caused by nitric oxide.

More studies are needed to fully recommended the therapy, but the results so far are surprising. Three more research studies of nitric oxide are about to end, and if they confirm doctors findings, then nitric oxide will be able to help up to half of all the premature babies that are born.