Born earlier than 22 weeks, ‘most premature’ child is now thriving


Courtney Stensrud and her husband name their fun-loving, spunky daughter a miracle.

The now Three-year-old lady was born at simply 21 weeks and 4 days after conception. “She may be the most premature known survivor to date,” based on a case report about her delivery printed within the journal Pediatrics final week.

In the United States, most pediatrics and obstetrics societies agree 22 weeks of gestation is the decrease threshold of viability, and plenty of medical doctors advocate in opposition to badessing for viability or resuscitating infants born youthful than 22 weeks as a consequence of a low likelihood of survival. Full-term infants are born at 39 via 40 weeks.

Before a medical emergency led to the early delivery of her daughter in 2014, whereas nonetheless within the antepartum room at Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, Stensrud mentioned she searched on-line for another moms who gave delivery at 21 weeks.

“There were stories of 22-weekers, 23-weekers but nothing about 21-weekers. So, I knew that there was little to no survival or viability at 21 weeks,” mentioned the stay-at-home mother, now 35.

Just after Stensrud gave delivery, Dr. Kaashif Ahmad, a MEDNAX-affiliated neonatologist on the hospital and lead creator of the case report, recommended her concerning the child’s extraordinarily low possibilities of survival and initially recommended in opposition to resuscitating the newborn.

Stensrud listened as she held her 15-ounce lady in her arms, with the umbilical wire nonetheless hooked up, she mentioned.

Courtney Stensrud and her husband name their fun-loving, spunky daughter a miracle. The now Three-year-old lady was born at simply 21 weeks and 4 days after conception. “She may be the most premature known survivor to date,” based on a case report about her delivery printed within the journal Pediatrics on Thursday.

“Although I was listening to him, I just felt something inside of me say ‘Just have hope and have faith.’ It didn’t matter to me that she was 21 weeks and 4 days. I didn’t care,” Stensrud mentioned. “As he was talking to me, I just said ‘Will you try?’ And, he said he would and, three years later, we have our little miracle baby.”

“I don’t tell her story a lot but, when I do, people are amazed,” she mentioned. “If there’s another woman in antepartum that is searching Google, they can find this story and they can find a little bit of hope and a little bit of faith.”

Stensrud requested CNN not publish her daughter’s title or present pictures to respect her household’s privateness.

Ahmad identified Stensrud’s daughter was one case and extra badysis must be accomplished on preterm births decrease than 22 weeks.

“We have to be very cautious about generalizing one good outcome to a larger population,” Ahmad mentioned. “It is very possible that there have been many 21-week babies resuscitated in other places that did not have positive outcomes and, for that reason, we haven’t heard about them. We reported this case, because after this resuscitation, she did well, but it may be possible that this is just an extraordinary case and that we shouldn’t expect the same from other babies. We have to learn more before we can make any conclusions.”

“She very slowly changed colors from blue to pink”

Around the world, an estimated 15 million infants are born too early – earlier than 37 weeks gestation – yearly, based on the World Health Organization.

Last 12 months, preterm delivery affected about one in every of each 10 infants born within the United States, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There has been a rise within the prevalence of preterm births within the United States, with an extra eight,000 infants being born prematurely final 12 months as a consequence of an increase within the preterm delivery price between 2015 and 2016, based on a report launched Wednesday from the nonprofit group March of Dimes.

Pediatric and obstetric skilled society pointers are routinely up to date to reply that difficult query of when resuscitating a preterm child ought to be beneficial or not.

The query additionally stays crucial for neonatologists who take care of infants’ medical issues. The reply to such a query stays tangled in considerations of ethics, well being care prices and lifelong well being outcomes for an toddler.

Now, Ahmad hopes this newest case will help information the pursuit for the best reply, he mentioned.

In the brand new case report, Ahmad and his colleagues describe how they resuscitated Stensrud’s daughter and the way she wanted extended care within the neonatal intensive care unit, often called the NICU. She wasn’t discharged from the hospital till 126 days after being born.

Stensrud went into early labor as a consequence of a untimely rupture of membranes and a typical an infection of the placental membrane known as chorioamnionitis, based on the report.

When Ahmad and his colleagues entered Stensrud’s labor and supply room, they weren’t anticipating to resuscitate the preterm child, he mentioned.

“But, when the mother asked that we do everything for her daughter, despite having no reason to believe the baby would survive, I just made the decision to proceed with a vigorous resuscitation,” Ahmad mentioned. “So, we placed her under an overhead warmer, we listened and we heard her heart rate, which we were not necessarily expecting. We immediately placed a breathing tube in her airway. We started giving her oxygen and, really pretty quickly, her heart rate began to rise. She very slowly changed colors from blue to pink, and she actually began to move and began to start breathing within a few minutes.”

By 2 years outdated, though she was smaller in dimension than her friends, Stensrud’s daughter achieved scores that have been common for a kid round 20 months on Bayley III checks, based on the report. The checks, meant to measure baby improvement as much as age Three, badessed her cognitive, motor and language talents.

“For this little girl, we say that her fine motor was age equivalent of 20 months,” Ahmad mentioned. “That is what we would expect the average 20-month baby to do. She was at that time 24 months but, as we noted in the case, if you take into account how many weeks early she was, she was actually about 20 months, corrected.”

She didn’t develop any auditory or visible impairments or cerebral palsy, based on the report, and she or he now attends preschool.

“If you didn’t know that she was so preemie, you would think she’s a normal 3-year-old,” Stensrud mentioned. “In her school, she is keeping up with all the other 3-year-olds. She loves playing with other kids. She loves everything I think a normal 3-year-old likes. She loves her baby dolls, she loves books and she loves make-believe. She loves anything and everything her (older) brother is doing.”

“The majority of infants born this early do not survive”

Though this child lady’s case seems to be “exceptional,” there ought to be warning in badessing her consequence and even her true gestational age, mentioned Dr. Noelle Younge, badistant professor of pediatrics at Duke University School of Medicine, who was not concerned within the case report.

“Except in the case of badisted reproductive technology, there is always uncertainty about gestational age dating,” Younge mentioned. “First-trimester ultrasounds are generally thought to be accurate within five to seven days, so it is possible the infant may have been 22 weeks of gestation at birth. As neonatal and obstetric care improve over time and a greater number of infants are actively treated at 22 weeks of gestation, there are likely to be more cases of infants who survive with favorable outcomes but, unfortunately, the majority of infants born this early do not survive.”

Overall, there was a rise in survival charges for preterm infants, based on a current examine led by Younge.

The proportion of infants born at 22 to 24 weeks’ gestation who survived climbed from 30 p.c round 2000 to 36 p.c round 2011 throughout the United States, based on the examine printed within the New England Journal of Medicine in February.

The examine concerned information from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The researchers badessed four,274 births at 22 to 24 weeks of gestation in facilities throughout the institute’s Neonatal Research Network.

The researchers discovered not solely survival charges elevated between 2000 and 2011 however the proportion of infants who survived with out neurodevelopmental issues elevated from 16 p.c to 20 p.c.

“However, rates of poor outcomes remain high,” Younge mentioned. “Continued research into the causes, preventive measures and outcomes of periviable birth is critical. We need to continue to develop ways to improve outcomes for infants born extremely preterm.”

One turning level in understanding the medical issues and survival of preterm infants got here in 1963, Ahmad famous.

That 12 months, President John F. Kennedy and first woman Jacqueline Kennedy “had a son named Patrick who was born at 34 weeks and had a breathing complication of prematurity that, for us, would be a very easy routine to take care of,” Ahmad mentioned.

“At that time just over 50 years ago, the technology and medicines available were not sufficient to save him, and he pbaded away within a matter of days,” he mentioned. “Since that time, we’ve had sustained improvements in care that have pushed the boundaries of how premature a baby can be born and not only survive but have a positive developmental outcome.”

For now, Stensrud mentioned she hopes her child lady’s case evokes the world.

She didn’t agree to inform her household’s story for herself or her daughter, she mentioned, however “for those other parents out there.”

“From the moment she entered this world, she’s just always wanted to live,” Stensrud mentioned of her daughter. “Now, she lives life.”

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