Neonatology 2017750

Physicians in the Division of Neonatology provide comprehensive care of all neonatal illness, using the most complete and up-to-date techniques. It is responsible for the operation of the Regional Newborn Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's of Alabama. Neonatologists in the Division provide care to preterm and term neonates with all medical and surgical conditions. The Division accepts referrals of neonates with any illness including genetic, cardiac and surgical problems from the state, nation and overseas. In addition, Neonatology provides coverage at five private, not-for-profit community hospitals.

GirlAbabyThe Division currently has fifteen faculty members. Research interests are in the following areas: respiratory distress syndrome, neonatal infections and immunology, persistent pulmonary hypertension, lung development, lung assist devices, lung injury, ventilation techniques in newborns, gastrointestinal development, necrotizing enterocolitis, neonatal apnea, cardiovascular problems, and complications arising from prematurity. Division faculty members are active in many research endeavors, including the 17-center Neonatal Research Network and the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research, which are funded by the National Institutes of Health. These investigators are in the forefront of clinical research, utilizing innovative treatments in all areas of neonatal care. Major advances include new therapies to reduce intracranial hemorrhage, cerebral palsy, and chronic lung disease in infants.

Regional Neonatal Intensive Care 

The Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU) at UAB’s new Women & Infants Center provides the best possible care for babies born too soon or who are ill. With 56 private rooms able to accommodate 63 babies, including special rooms for twins and triplets, the RNICU was planned around the needs of each newborn and their families, and has taken into account any situation that could arise. The Center also houses UAB’s Continuing Care Nursery (CCN), a step-down unit where families will also find 60 private rooms for the extended care necessary once a baby is well enough to leave the RNICU.

In the new Women & Infants Center, RNICU rooms are private, which provides the optimal environment for the important bonding that occurs in the first few days and weeks of life between mother and baby. Sleep space for a family member allows support for mom and baby to be right there in the room with them. Each baby is closely monitored by nurses who will care for them in their rooms, as well as from observation areas directly outside of each room, and via the most advanced, wireless fetal monitoring and patient telemetry monitoring equipment available. Since everything a nurse needs is at her fingertips, RNICU babies are constantly under nurse supervision, while allowing for family privacy.

In addition to nurse supervision, staff in the RNICU at the Women & Infants Center is equipped with a state-of-the-art communication system that allows one-touch communication with other members of the hospital staff, should an emergency arise. Appropriate medical personnel are able to respond to an infant in need within seconds.

Amenities in the Women & Infants Center are like none other. For families needing to spend weeks or even months with a sick baby, the hospital provides home-like family rooms complete with kitchenettes, dining tables, comfortable couches, 42” flat screen TVs and play rooms with activities for children visiting a sick sibling. Sleep rooms are also available with queen-size beds and private bathrooms with showers, better enabling families to spend the more precious time in the hospital with their baby.

UAB’s Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Services 
UAB is part of an academic medical center, and our Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) physicians (who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) have access to new treatments that are often not yet available elsewhere. These treatments can reduce the chance of a recurrent preterm birth by one-third to one-half. UAB delivers world-class care to the sickest babies in Alabama and the region. With a combination of state-of-the-art technology and a compassionate, knowledgeable and skilled neonatal care team, the RNICU at UAB is like nowhere else in the state and few places in the country.

In conjunction with The Children's Hospital of Alabama, UAB is classified as a Level IIIC RNICU, the highest level possible and the only Level IIIC in the state. UAB's nursery is distinguished from others for a number of reasons including its ability to care for babies with serious heart problems and other congenital anomalies. Also, unlike other Alabama hospitals, UAB's specialized neonatology physicians are in the hospital 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whenever your baby may need special care. In addition to the RNICU, UAB also provides Continuing Care Nursery (CCN) services, providing extended step-down care for preterm and term babies with medical conditions.

Neonatal Intensive Care at COA

The NICU at The Children's Hospital of Alabama is a Level III, 30 bed unit that includes 4 ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) beds, the only ECMO beds in the state.

Our patients are referred in from other hospitals for subspecialty care, with diagnoses that include Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN); gastroschisis, omphalocele, neural tube defects, other congenital anomalies, Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), management of Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). These infants frequently require management of mechanical ventilation, multiple intravenous fluid and drug administration, monitoring of cardiovascular status, and thermoregulation. Support of family structures including stress management, grief support, enhancement of coping skills is also provided.

An all RN staff, is especially skilled in the assessment and treatment of infants with complex, multisystem dysfunction. The nurse to patient ratio is usually 1:2, although occasionally, depending on the acuity of the patient, the ratio may be 1:1. The nursing staff works closely with the medical team which includes neonatologists, surgeons, neonatal nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists, nutritionists, and social workers.

Zambia 6 06International Programs

The Division of Neonatology supports training programs in Zambia and India to train local caregivers to provide care to premature babies.

Facts and Figures

  • Together with The Children's Hospital of Alabama, UAB is the only regional Level IIIc (the highest level) neonatal intensive care unit in Alabama and the only unit in the state with full perinatal and CV services.
  • UAB is one of the original eight National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) research sites commissioned in 1986 and is the only facility in the country involved in all three of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) research initiatives for maternal, child and family health, including the Neonatal Research Network, Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network, and the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research. Involvement in these networks means that NICU patients at UAB have access to the latest and most advanced care available at only the top places in the U.S. years before they are available elsewhere.  
  • UAB has 56 RNICU beds (42 Neonatal and 14 Cardiac) and 70 CCN beds.
  • UAB is one of only 17 NIH Neonatal Research Network Centers in the country, enabling us to offer the latest in cutting edge advances in neonatology.
  • The RNICU treats approximately 1,500 babies every year, with 80 percent of those babies born at UAB.
  • The RNICU staff boasts 17 neonatologists, all board certified in Neonatology, Magnet-certified nurses, as well as many other related health professionals such as respiratory therapists and pharmacists, among others.
  • UAB has the one of the lowest rates of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD), sometimes called chronic lung disease, in the NIH network, and was selected by the NIH to be a national benchmark center for BPD.
  • UAB has one of the lowest rates of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) in the country. ROP is a potentially blinding eye disorder.
  • UAB has one of the lowest rates of neurodevelopmental impairment/death for NICUs in the country.
  • With our state-of-the-art CO2 monitoring equipment, we can more closely monitor premature babies' CO2 intake, greatly reducing the need for and accompanying risk of surgery for Pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and surgical repair. This equipment is the only one of its kind in the state.
  • UAB's survival rate for all premature babies significantly exceeds the national average, as does its rate for survival without apparent mental, auditory, and visual disabilities.
  • UAB is the only NICU in the state with neonatologists available in-house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • UAB has a Neonatal Follow-up program that follows neonates for two years after birth.

Faculty

Division Director- Waldemar Carlo, M.D.

Division Co-Director- Namasivayam Ambalavanan, M.D.

Neonatology Faculty