A recent medical technique, known as less invasive surfactant administration (LISA), has been started at J.K. Lon Government Children’s Hospital here for treatment of lung disease or respiratory distress syndrome among premature babies. The procedure, started initially for newborn children with the birth weight of less than 1,500 grams, has yielded encouraging results.
Most of the premature babies admitted to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit had the problem of less mature lungs, resulting in difficulty in breathing at the time of birth. They needed ventilatory support with surfactant administration via endotracheal tube placed in air pipe for treatment.
Hospital’s Medical Superintendent Ashok Gupta told The Hindu on Monday that the ventilatory support was gradually weaned and babies were put on non-invasive ventilation like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) after maturation of lungs.
“We have been giving the directly administered medication in windpipe for treating breathing problems, but this has its own side effects,” Dr. Gupta said. LISA technique had been found to be very helpful in minimising the side effects, he added.
The surfactant is administered via a thin feeding tube, instead of endotracheal tube, which is immediately removed after the procedure, while the baby is on the CPAP machine. Dr. Gupta said the new technique’s main objective was to minimise damage to the fragile premature lungs.
LISA has been developed as a lung protective strategy for respiratory management and ventilation in view of the mechanical ventilation causing damage to the preterm lungs of newborns. Infants considered suitable for LISA are those being managed with primary CPAP or high flow with the evidence of increasing respiratory distress and with a rising oxygen requirement.
The procedure was applied to a preemie by resident doctor Vijay Jhajharia under the supervision of Assistant Professor Vishnu Pansari at the hospital. Dr. Gupta said the regular application of LISA would turn out to be very useful and help save the lives of premature babies.