Few things are more terrifying to new parents than the premature birth of their baby. Premature babies have not been afforded the opportunity for proper lung development and are susceptible to severe respiratory distress that could result in death. Fortunately, for both child and parents, nitric oxide is a FDA-approved medication that aids in a premature infant’s breathing. This can prevent respiratory failure and help the baby to continue to develop in an incubator until it is in a stronger and safer physical state. As with any medication, it is important to understand the facts surrounding this drug.
On the Medical Side
Although the parents themselves are not administering nitric oxide, it’s always comforting to gain the same knowledge of this drug as the professionals have. The maximum dosage of nitric oxide is 20ppm for neonatal babies who are at a term of 34 weeks and are under 14 days of age. Nitric oxide does not interact negatively with other medications, and alongside the side effects listed above, the medical professionals will also monitor for the baby’s inability to carry oxygen in the blood (methemoglobinemia), hyperglycemia, hypotension, cellulitis, infection, and sepsis. These side effects are infrequent, and the benefits of nitric oxide treatment in premature infants suffering from respiratory distress far outweigh the risks.
The birth of a premature baby is a traumatic experience for the parents and the child. Thankfully, modern medicine offers the newborn a far greater chance of survival than it did even 50 years ago. Nitric oxide is part of an arsenal of treatment to strengthen the newborn preemie and encourage continued development and growth outside of the womb. Overall, this medication is extremely effective and safe for use, a reassurance to the distressed parents that their baby will likely be just fine.