Grant Application

Anusha Chinthaparthi, MD, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital and UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Proposed Innovation

Premature babies — especially those born before 32 weeks of gestation — are at risk of intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), or bleeding in and around the brain’s ventricles. The impact of IVH can range from mild cerebral palsy to death. Severe IVH can lead to significant long-term neurodevelopment impairment with increased medical costs due to a prolonged hospital stay and reliance on medical equipment.

One cause of IVH is excessive stimulation after birth. For very preterm babies, being born early means they are often over exposed to stimuli, including light, noise, smell, and poor positioning in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This project aims to reduce IVH in the NICUs at UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital and UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh by reducing those stressors.

Improvements in Action

Through this project, special isolette covers and positioning tools will be purchased for use in the NICUs at both hospitals. These reusable covers block out light, providing babies with a darkened and protective environment. Specially designed NICU positioning pillows and wraps can secure infants in the right position and even create a soothing, womb-like atmosphere. Other plans include purchasing material to educate staff on the need for reducing stimulation and encouraging early skin-to-skin contact.

Intended Outcomes

This project is expected to improve adherence to guidelines established to protect hospitalized infants from overexposure to stimuli. Decreasing light and noise stimulation, keeping babies in a more stable position, and promoting parent contact with their babies is expected to reduce the rate of severe IVH in the NICUs at UPMC Magee and UPMC Children’s.