Gas saves baby from brain damage
Published 10/04/2010 | 05:00
For the first time doctors have used xenon gas to prevent brain damage in a baby who suffered asphyxia at birth.
Riley Joyce received the gas to help him recover after being resuscitated, in what is being claimed as a world first.
Born in Bath, England, Riley was rushed to St Michael's Hospital, Bristol, where the gas was administered using a specially designed breathing apparatus similar to that used by military divers. By cooling his brain and delivering the gas, doctors hope to prevent or minimise any damage.
It could be years before the extent of any damage can be assessed but the early results are encouraging, researchers said.
Professor Marianne Thoresen of the University of Bristol, who developed the technique with Dr John Dingley of Swansea University, said yesterday: "Xenon is a very rare and chemically inert anaesthetic gas found in tiny quantities in the air that we breathe. After seven days, Riley was alert, able to look at his mother's face, hold up his head and begin to take milk."
Parents Dave and Sarah Joyce, said: "We are delighted that Riley is doing so well and we are extremely grateful that we were given this opportunity. (© Independent News Service)