Premature birth involves a serious risk of death or permanent late complications following brain damage. A new European research project headed by Prof. Gorm Greisen from the Department of Neonatology at Rigshospitalet is focussing on brain oxygenation in the first three days of life.
In Europe more than 25,000 babies are born more than 12 weeks prematurely. Mortality is 20%, despite the best intensive treatment, and 25% survive with some form of disability. Too little or too much oxygen to the brain is a frequent problem and a serious risk factor. Reducing this risk calls for more individualised treatment. One method of treatment is "Near Infrared Spectroscopy" (NIRS), which is used to measure brain oxygenation. However there is a lack of evidence of the clinical effects of the method.
The project, which has just received a grant of DKK 11.1 million from the Danish Council for Strategic Research, is a Danish-led European research programme, the primary objective of which is to study the possibility of stabilising brain oxygenation in the first three days by combining NIRS with evidence-based treatment guidance.
The project involves 150 children at university hospitals in 12 European countries. The project will investigate a number of markers for brain damage and monitor the children's development up to the age of two years. The research group is composed of European researchers with special expertise in brain damage in premature babies, NIRS, biomarkers and clinical trials.
It is estimated that every year 1,200 European babies will escape brain damage because of the new technique. The project will benefit children. families and society, and it will support Danish research into rational development of expensive intensive treatment. The ultimate goal is to plan for and prepare a large new EU-funded, randomised clinical trial involving 4,000 children, to see if it is possible to increase survival chances with normal psychomotor development.Contact:Prof. Gorm Greisen from the Department of Neonatology at RigshospitaletGorm.Greisen@regionh.dk