Case study: How Docs Saved Newborn Suffering From Multi-Organ Dysfunction Syndrome

Case study: How Docs Saved Newborn Suffering From Multi-Organ Dysfunction Syndrome
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The baby passed meconium (stools) inside the mother's womb and aspirited it, leading to 'Meconium Aspiration Syndrome', where the stools infiltrate the lungs.

Written by Prerna Mittra |Updated : December 1, 2023 3:01 PM IST

A newborn baby boy suffering from multi-organ dysfunction syndrome was recently saved by doctors at Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road, Mumbai. Multi-organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) is characterised by the development of "otherwise-unexplained abnormalities of organ function in critically-ill patients", according to sciencedirect.com. The patient was treated by a team led by Dr Nitu Mundhra, consultant neonatologist at the hospital. He was admitted just a few hours after birth, and was discharged on day 27 on October 12, 2023. He is now doing well.

The mother gave birth to a 2.3 kg baby boy via normal delivery on September 15, 2023 around the 37th week. But, he had passed meconium (stools) inside the mother's womb and "aspirited" it, leading to a complication called 'Meconium Aspiration Syndrome', where the stools infiltrate the lungs of the baby. The baby had severe breathing difficulty initially, leading to low oxygen levels in the blood. With his condition worsening, he was shifted to Wockhardt's neonatal intensive care.

"The baby had multiorgan failure on admission. He had severe shortness of breath. Despite being on very high ventilator requirement -- oxygen requirement of 100 per cent -- he had a life-threatening severe pulmonary hemorrhage, a condition where the chances of death are very high," Dr Mundhra explained.

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According to the doctor, the baby had a low platelet count of 11,000 and had coagulopathy with high INR, where the blood is unable to clot inside the body. In addition to that, kidneys were failing and liver markers were deranged. Infant infective parameters (CRP and PCT) were high and he was in severe shock. "He also had persistent pulmonary hypertension as a newborn, a condition where the heart pressures are high and there is intracardiac shunting, leading to the patient not being able to purify his blood. The baby also had an episode of seizure," the doctor added.

The treatment

Since the baby was admitted with multiple health issues, the medical team addressed each problem aggressively. "This kind of fragile baby does not have much time, and the conditions were life-threatening. We started with multiple modalities of treatment, including advanced ventilation. The baby was able to come out of all support and ventilator within seven days," said the doctor, adding that they continued supportive treatment and antibiotics.

"We kept the baby with the mother in the step-down NICU for the continuation of treatment, so that the feeding could happen. The mother was trained in Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), early intervention therapy and breastfeeding. When the baby was finally discharged on day 27 of life on full breast milk, the mother was confident she would be able to offer care at home."