About the Neonatal Neurocritical Care Program
The Neonatal Neurocritical Care Program provides coordinated, ongoing care for infants who are born with or are at risk for neurologic disease, neurological damage or brain injury. We treat infants with a wide range of brain conditions and injuries, including:
- Neonatal encephalopathy
- Stroke, in coordination with the Pediatric Stroke Program
- Seizures and epilepsy
- Interventricular hemorrhage
- Congenital brain malformations
Neurologic diseases or injuries present at birth can have a lasting impact on your child’s growth and development. Learning and behavioral problems, feeding difficulties, motor deficits, and cerebral palsy are all issues seen in children with neurological disease or brain injury.
A baby’s brain has a remarkable ability to heal, though, and early intervention is critical. We strive to help you maximize your child’s developmental potential by providing meticulous neurologic care and rehabilitation as early as possible. Through the Neonatal Neurocritical Care Program, CHOP experts provide the highest quality multidisciplinary care for babies with neurologic disorders.
Our team uses innovative monitoring and treatment methods and focuses on developmental care and follow-up. We also focus on the unique needs of each child, bringing together the different specialists that may be needed to provide coordinated care.
Treatment and monitoring options available to your child include:
- Diagnostic and treatment pathways for common infant brain conditions
- Neurosurgical interventions, including staged interventions for hydrocephalus, advanced neuro-oncologic surgery, and continuity of care for patients diagnosed prenatally and followed in the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment
- Seizure management using advanced monitoring techniques like continuous video electroencephalogram (EEG), and management of seizures by our critical care neurology team, including conservative management with monitoring alone, titration of anti-epileptic medications and the ketogenic diet
- Advanced diagnostics for hypotonia and evaluation of neuromuscular disease using electromyography (EMG), ultrasound, and genetic testing
- Therapeutic hypothermia (brain cooling) for neonatal encephalopathy
- Specialized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) performed by expert pediatric neuroradiologists using neonatal-specific protocols
- Support from a dedicated team of critical care neurologists
- Developmental support from speech, occupational and physical therapists
The Neonatal Neurocritical Care Program manages your child’s care from inpatient through post-discharge follow-up. Once your child is discharged, the care team will coordinate with all of the specialists involved in follow-up care to establish a comprehensive care plan tailored to your child, and to arrange for appropriate follow-up appointments.
After discharge, babies at risk for developmental delay continue to receive state-of-the-art neurodevelopmental follow-up. Long-term care will depend on your child’s specific condition. Other follow-up may include appointments with specialists from developmental pediatrics, neurology, neurosurgery, the feeding team, physical therapy and rehabilitation, genetics, and metabolism.
Your family plays an integral role in your child’s daily care from the very beginning. The home environment is extremely important for children with neurologic conditions; much of a child's long-term neurologic outcome depends on you and your family having the skills needed to stimulate appropriate development at home.
Our team will work closely with your family to prepare you for your child’s transition to home and outpatient care. We will help familiarize you with the therapies and technological advancements that can help your child’s progress at home and help them meet their developmental potential.
The Neonatal Neurocritical Care Program is at the forefront of advancing quality of care and treatment options for infants with neurologic disease or brain injury through ongoing research projects, state-of-the-art monitoring and cross-disciplinary collaboration.
For example, in collaboration with the Fetal Neuroprotection and Neuroplasticity Program and the Neonatal Research Network, which is funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), we are researching ways to protect fetal brain development, prevent brain injury before birth, and improve the developmental outcomes of babies who sustain brain injury.
Families also have opportunities to participate in clinical research trials.