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Thursday, April 12, 2012

NICU Equipment

This is a list of some of the equipment we saw in our NICU. Your mileage might vary! After a while in the NICU you’ll get familiar with all the equipment, what it does, and how changing equipment can signify changes in your babies condition, I’ll expand on that in a later post.

Nicu Incubator

There are many types of Incubators used in the NICU, a quick google will reveal the many different types. Our baby had a GE Healthcare Giraffe Omnibed (pictured). These are used to keep the baby warm, as premature babies struggle to maintain their own body temperature, and also humidify the air. As well they provide easy access for the many cables and tubes a premature baby needs. Some have their own built in monitoring, others use external monitors.

Monitoring Equipment

Monitors like the one pictured (which is what our baby had) are used to monitor vital stats of the baby. They can be configured to display in many different formats, but typically I found in our NICU they showed heartrate (the top line in the picture), Blood oxygenation level as a percentage (the middle line in the picture) and then also breathing rate (not pictured).

They do this via various monitors stuck to the babies body. 3 chest monitors are stuck on for the heartrate. The blood oxygenation is measured via a red light that is usually strapped to the babies extremities (hands and feet), it measures the colour of the light on the other side and determines the blood oxygenation level that way.

Infusion Pumps

Infusion Pumps like the ones pictures are to assist with slowly pushing medication (sometimes injection just 15ml can be done over 4 hours for example). I was always fascinated with these. The first one pictured is to handle IV infusions, the second one (as you can see in the picture) handles syringes.







High Flow Oxygen Support

This equipment is linked together to help the baby get oxygen. Basically oxygen and air are hooked up to the Air-Oxygen blender, where they can set what percentage of oxygen should be pumped out. That goes to a device to say how many liters of air per minute should be pushed out. This goes to a humidifier (pictured below) to add humidity to the air which is then sent via a tube to a nasal canular.
Worth noting, with our baby his lungs had issues with humidity so we had to keep a close eye on the tube coming out of the humidifier as it would build up drops of water which would go via the tube into the nose and into the lungs, so we had to monitor that and ask the staff to clear out the water from time to time.










If your baby has to be forced to breath on a schedule (as is likely when first born, below 34 weeks or so) then he will probably be on a ventilator. This machine will work similar to the above, but the tube will be inserted into the lungs, and the machine will force inhale/exhale. The one we had had two modes of working, that would force the baby to breath, and another that would wait for the baby to breath and would assist. Clever stuff.

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