Monday, 27 August 2018

Treatment changes to help developing babies

School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS) and Hudson Institute PhD students Ben Amberg and Aidan Kashyap recently presented their research at the International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society congress in Bali.

The society promotes and encourages the development and advancement of the field of fetal diagnosis and therapy.

Ben Amberg, a PhD student from the Fetal Therapy group at The Ritchie Centre, supervised by Ryan Hodges and Stuart Hooper, was awarded the Umberto Nicolini Award for a leading young investigator presentation.

“My presentation covered what happens to the fetal physiology during keyhole surgery (fetoscopic surgery) in early pregnancy. These surgeries are performed on fetuses affected by life changing congenital abnormalities and aim to prevent problems that arise in utero,” Ben said.

“Our study showed that warming and humidifying the in utero environment during surgery, dramatically reduced strain on both the fetus and uterine membranes surrounding the baby. We hope our findings will guide the application of fetoscopic surgery both in Australia and internationally.”

A better transition to newborn life

Aidan Kashyap’s presentation explained how new therapies could help babies born with underdeveloped lungs due to congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

He is co-supervised by A/Prof Ryan Hodges and Dr Philip DeKoninck from the Fetal Therapy group, and Prof Stuart Hooper and Dr Kelly Crossley, from the Fetal and Neonatal Health group.

“When the umbilical cord is clamped at birth, these babies lose the support of mum's placenta and have to rely on their own small lungs for gas exchange,” Aidan said.

“Our research suggests that if we delay umbilical cord clamping until after the lungs are aerated (we call this physiologically based cord clamping), then babies with CDH can experience a much smoother transition to newborn life.”

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