Division of Neonatology: a look ahead
Presented by Howard Kilbride, MD, Division Director, Neonatology
With outstanding patient care, innovative programs and
promising research, Children’s Mercy relentlessly seeks to improve treatments
and achieve better outcomes for children facing chronic lung disease, birth
defects or complications of prematurity.
Our state-of-the-art, 60-bed Intensive Care Nursery is
staffed by neonatologists who work with neonatal nurse practitioners,
nutritionists, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists and
registered nurses to continue the hospital’s long tradition of providing the
finest neonatal care available.
Children’s Mercy continues to be at the forefront of
developing creative new approaches to neonatal care. We have one of the largest
volume programs for home-ventilated infants in the nation, with a survival rate
greater than 90 percent for these high-risk patients with chronic respiratory
failure. With the opening of the Elizabeth J. Ferrell Fetal Health Center at
Children’s Mercy Hospital, which is being developed in collaboration with the
University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, we’ll be one of only a
few freestanding children’s hospitals in the nation with an expertise that
extends to caring for children even before birth – including delivery of those
with selected fetal anomalies.
For nearly 40 years, we’ve been expanding the frontiers of
knowledge in neonatal research, with focused expertise in chronic lung disease.
Under the direction of William Truog, MD,
and Ike Ekekezie, MD, studies are
underway that look at lung development and factors that alter growth and
function, as are clinical trials into the use of nitric oxide to minimize
chronic lung disease and research into the role of specific inflammatory
mediators in neonatal lung injury. Our research team is also involved in the
epidemiology of nosocomial infection, follow-up of extremely preterm infants
and substance-abused infants, and the impact of smoking on perinatal outcomes,
embryonic development and congenital deformities.
In 1987, Children’s Mercy became one of the first hospitals
in the country to offer an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Program.
Since then, more than 500 children have been placed on ECMO, making it one of
the highest volume programs in the country, with survival rates for all
diagnoses that are on the upper end of the range of institutions offering ECMO.
Children’s Mercy is a three-time winner of the Extracorporeal Life Support
Organization’s “Excellence in Life Support” award, which recognizes centers of
excellence in patient care, training and promoting the mission of the ELSO. We
strive every day to advance patient care and give all babies the best possible
opportunity to live and thrive.