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Reducing infant mortality across the globe

Nearly one million infants die each year due to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a brain injury caused by a lack of blood flow and oxygen during delivery. Babies who survive this life-threatening event are still at risk of dying, developing conditions such as cerebral palsy or experiencing other developmental delays in the future.

Infant Mortality

The usual practice when delivering neonates who require resuscitation is to immediately clamp the umbilical cord. Nemours Children’s neonatologist, Zubair Aghai, MD, believes a simple, no-cost procedure called cord-milking could help protect infants. Dr. Aghai has secured a four-year, $2.5 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 grant to test his hypothesis in his homeland of India.

This global health collaboration includes Nemours Children’s, Delaware Valley, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns, St. Louis University, University of California-San Diego, Thomas Jefferson University, and the Jawaharial Nehru Medical College in India.

The trial will involve 3,442 term newborns who are depressed at birth from seven hospitals in India and will provide evidence to promote a change in guidelines supporting the use of umbilical cord milking.

“The study addresses an important health problem using a technology that makes it applicable globally. If successful, this study has the potential to benefit millions of neonates.”

NIH Review Panelist