Neonatal Intensive Care
The hospital's nationally recognized Level IIIB Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides comprehensive care for critically ill newborns. These babies include those born prematurely and full-term newborns with complications. Miami Valley Hospital has had a NICU since the 1970s.
Approximately 15% of all babies are born prematurely. Most premature babies require special care in the NICU nursery. About 80% of the 830 admissions a year to the NICU are prematurity-related. The other 20% are term babies with the possibility of infection, minor breathing difficulty, congenital anomalies, or genetic problems.
Growing to Meet Community Needs
The NICU at MVH expanded from 49 beds to 60 in 2009. The mission of the unit is to offer the highest quality and latest technology possible to all our patients and families. As the rate of premature infant births in Ohio continues to increase, we are committed on improving the care to meet the increasing demand.
The expanded unit grew to 51,000 square feet and all 60 beds are in private rooms creating more privacy for the family. The expansion ensures that MVH is the appropriate facility for mothers-to-be and their infants. Patient satisfaction scores are in the 99th percentile further illustrating that the care of the nurses and physicians is excellent.
Each NICU room is equipped with a rocker-recliner called a skin-to-skin chair. Mothers and fathers can sit or recline and provide skin-to-skin contact care for their infants. Research has shown that infants who have skin-to-skin contact for extended periods of time with their mothers or fathers have shorter hospital stays enhancing their breathing, sleeping, and digestion.
The labor and delivery and postpartum units are close enough to the NICU to allow rapid response to the most critical situations while keeping family close to baby.
The NICU is dedicated to research that will improve the lives of newborns. Research has involved surfactant treatment for premature lungs, new drugs for infection, special testing for hearing problems, and much more. The MVH NICU is also a recognized leader in quality improvement projects statewide and nationwide. These commitments are what provides a blanket of security for our babies and ensures the continuation of leading-edge care, technology and excellence.
The NICU Team
Our NICU is staffed by board-certified neonatologists, masters trained neonatal nurse practitioners, NICU trained nurses and respiratory therapists, social workers, lactation consultants and pastoral care counselors. One of two NICU’s in Montgomery County, our NICU is staffed with a board-certified neonatologist and certified nurse practitioner 24/7, 365 days a year.
Saving Babies Every Day is Our Specialty
The NICU is equipped to handle situations that go beyond simple complications. Not all premature babies have respiratory distress. Premature babies also commonly have apnea and feeding problems. A premature infant’s stay in the NICU typically lasts a week to a few months depending on how early the infant was born. Most people are unaware that the vast majority of premature infants can live normal lives although some do have serious complications.
With the exception of complex surgery, the NICU offers everything a baby may need. Babies requiring complex surgery are transferred to Dayton Children's Hospital, while babies needing heart surgery are transferred to Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
MVH is the only facility in Dayton offering extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). An ECMO device is a heart-lung bypass machine that is used as a temporary external heart bypass for the heart and lungs. It's used as a treatment for term and near-term newborns with severe respiratory failure or some heart problems. MVH was the first center in Ohio to offer ECMO in 1986 and was the 11th ECMO center in the world. There are still only a few centers with this advanced equipment and expertise throughout the U.S.
The NICU does laser eye procedures to alleviate retinal scarring that can occur in the very premature infants. We also offer a new cooling therapy for term infants with possible brain damage.
Rocking the Baby
Premature babies benefit from human contact for many reasons. Since their growth in the womb was shortened, this extra care is needed to help them grow and develop normally. Ideally, these infants benefit most from touch and sensory contact with their parents.
When parents are not available, MVH depends on specially trained volunteers to help provide sensory care for these babies. Those special individuals are dedicated to touching and holding the tiny babies with the love of human touch. Volunteers are fingerprinted, screened, and have their immunizations updates. All of these volunteers go through a six-hour program of specialized training where they learn special care and infant CPR. These volunteers will tell you that they may be holding the tiny infant, but the infant is touching and effecting their lives too!