Therapies used in preemies may surprise you - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Surprising Treatment For Preemies

Therapies used in preemies may surprise you

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The day she was born, Autymn Tackett weighted less than a pound and a half.  Born at just 26 weeks, she was fighting for her life.

Erick Tackett, Autymn says "when we first came here, Autymn was really struggling to breathe, she was really struggling to keep the fluid off her lungs."

Today Autymn is getting stronger and the medications that helped her may be surprising.  Doctor Edward Shephered says one of the more common therapies used in preemies is caffeine.
   Essentially giving these babies the equivalent of a cup of coffee can have remarkable results.

Dr. Edward Shepherd, Nationwide Children's Hospital says "we think it stimulates the diaphragm, we think it helps to stimulate the lungs, but most importantly it stimulates the brain to remind the body to breathe."

Jennifer Tackett says "my first reaction was I'm not allowed to drink it while I'm pregnant with her, but you're all going to giver it to her. Very surprised."

Even more surprising may be giving babies the drug viagra, but doctors ;say its been shown to help a life threatening condition known as pulmonary hypertension.

Dr. Shepherd says "that's where it's too hard for the heart to pump blood through their lungs and this medication actually works to relax the lungs so that the heart doesn't have to work so hard.

Jennifer Tackett says "i't something tha tyou wouldn't imagine being used for a  baby, but it's truly helped her out tremendously."

Doctors have also taken adult medicines used to control blood pressure and even heart failure and modified them for use in preemies.  One in nine babies in the U-S is born prematurely, which is before the 37th week of pregnancy...

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