Internationally Recognized Leaders in Neonatal Care
Loyola Medicine’s board-certified neonatologists are nationally and internationally recognized as leaders in neonatology, or neonatal care. As a Level III Perinatal Center, Loyola offers the latest technology, therapies and techniques and serves as a national model for specialized protocols and practices in the care of premature infants. We care for more than 300 critically ill newborns each year. Our 50-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is known for the care of extremely premature babies and newborns with medical conditions such as jaundice or anemia.
Loyola provides expert care for premature infants (born three or more weeks early) and full-term newborn babies who need critical care. These infants often face a number of challenging health conditions during the first weeks of life, which may include:
- Low birth weight
- Low blood pressure and low blood sugar
- Necrotizing enterocolitis
- Neonatal hemochromatosis
- Neonatal intestinal obstruction
- Newborn infection
- Patent ductus arteriosus
- Abnormal retina development/Retinopathy
- Pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary hypoplasia
- Respiratory disease, including underdeveloped lungs
Loyola’s staff of board-certified neonatologists provides the most advanced care, working as part of an integrated team with a range of pediatric specialists and surgeons, neonatal nurse practitioners and neonatal respiratory therapists.
Why Choose Loyola for Neonatal Care?
Loyola’s NICU has been included in the Guinness World Records 2015 for caring for the world’s smallest surviving baby and the world’s second-smallest baby. Loyola has also cared for more than 3,000 newborns who have weighed less than two pounds; and our NICU has one of the state’s highest survival rates for infants with low birthweight.
The NICU at Loyola is a family-friendly environment. We attend not only to the baby, but also to the parents dealing with the emotional stress of having a sick baby in the hospital. Mothers and fathers or legal guardians may visit 24 hours a day. VIsiting hours for siblings and others are noon to 9 pm and include additional restrictions.
Loyola provides supportive services and programs for the families of infants in the NICU, including social work, pastoral care, lactation support, as well as physical, speech and occupational therapy.
Babies needing NICU care who are not born at Loyola can be transferred by ambulance. If you are a doctor who needs a consultation or needs to arrange transport to the neonatal unit, call 855-456-9652.
How are Neonatal Conditions Diagnosed?
Infants born prematurely need warmth and nutrition in order to grow. Loyola’s neonatology specialists provide around-the-clock care for babies needing extra care for conditions such as jaundice, anemia, low blood pressure, infection and respiratory distress.
Your baby’s vital signs will be monitored constantly, including temperature, heart and breathing rates, as well as levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. Additional testing is sometimes needed, including blood tests, eye exams, cranial ultrasound, echocardiogram and chest or abdominal X-rays.
How are Neonatal Conditions Treated?
Your baby likely will stay in an incubator—an enclosed clear bed that keeps the infant warm and protects him or her from germs and noise—while we monitor vital signs. Most medication, hydration and nutrition will be supplied through IV lines. Infants in Loyola’s NICU will be provided the most advanced care and treatment in order to grow and heal.
Treatment options may include:
- Blood transfusion
- Breathing assistance with a ventilator or CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure)
- Endotracheal tube
- Medication to help the lungs mature
- Phototherapy to treat jaundice
- Temperature control
Your child’s neonatologist will collaborate with Loyola’s expert pediatric specialists for more advanced conditions. Medical options will first be considered, though surgical options may be necessary to treat congenital heart problems, necrotizing enterocolitis, retinal problems or other conditions. If surgery is needed, your child’s doctors will discuss all possible options with you prior to treatment, as well as inform you every step of the way while providing expert care.
Ongoing Support and Treatment for New Mothers and Babies
When your baby graduates from the NICU, Loyola’s pediatricians will continue to help your baby grow and develop. We offer lactation support to guide new mothers as they breastfeed, giving babies the best chance of fighting infections and staying healthy. Experienced, board-certified lactation consultants hold classes and provide individual counseling. Loyola has earned the prestigious Baby-Friendly USA designation, a reflection of our dedication to help mothers successfully breastfeed their newborns.
High-risk infants, including NICU graduates, undergo developmental screenings during the first years of life through our developmental follow-up clinic. This multidisciplinary clinic brings together the expertise of neonatologists, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, physical therapists, nutritionists and developmental specialists. Clinics are held at the Loyola Outpatient Center in Maywood and the Loyola Center for Children’s Health at Oakbrook Terrace.
Ongoing Clinical Research to Improve Infant Survival Rate
Loyola’s neonatology team is actively involved in clinical research that has already improved the lives of premature infants. Our studies have examined the lives of some of the smallest babies as they grew. We have researched the factors that influence premature infants’ survival rates and progress and also implemented methods to significantly reduce the risk for pressure ulcers in premature infants.