Doctors ‘Freeze’ Baby Edward Ives To Save Him From Supraventricular Tachycardia

By Melissa Siegel on February 15, 2013 1:48 PM EST

Edward Ives
Edward Ives has a good prognosis after surviving supraventricular tachycardia as a newborn. (Photo: http://run4edward.wordpress.co)

Doctors in England saved the life of newborn Edward Ives by "freezing" him for several days.

According to ABC News, Claire Ives was listening to her unborn child's heartbeat when doctors realized that the fetus' heart rate was around 300 beats per minute, nearly two times the normal rate of 160.

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Ives delivered her child immediately, five weeks before her due date. Doctors then discovered that he had supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), which leads to a rapid heartbeat. The condition often causes heart and/or organ failure, and the young Edward Ives was given just a five percent chance to live.

However, as UPI notes, doctors saved the baby by using a new type of treatment. They slowly froze Edward with a blanket of cold gel until his body temperature was down to 91 degrees. He was slowly heated back up over several days until his heart rate returned closer to normal.

'We'd gone through all the usual maneuvers that usually work in babies, giving drugs ... trying to shock the heart, the baby and get [a healthy heart rate back]," Dr. Nicola Robertson told ABC News.

Robertson works in the neonatal unit of University College London Hospital, which treated Edward Ives.

The process hit a big of a snag early on, as Edward Ives' heart started beating rapidly again as he was being warmed up. Thus, the doctors had to "freeze" the baby once again three days later.

"That was one of the worst nights," said Claire Ives. "I asked one of the nurses if he was going to die and she said he might."

But eventually, the "freezing" technique worked. The now-six-month-old Edward was able to leave the hospital after four weeks, and his prognosis appears good.

Indeed, Claire Ives wrote on her blog earlier this month that Edward is "doing fabby." The baby has just started weaning and may soon get taken off one of his two medications.

The mother is so thankful her family's good fortune that she has decided to run a half-marathon to raise money for the hospital's neonatal unit. Ives admitted on her blog that she is "clinically obese" but promises that both she and the father of her baby will complete the challenge.

"It's made me appreciate all the small things about my children," Claire Ives told UPI. "It's the best thing ever to bring him home."

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