Maria Fareri Children's Hospital Becomes the First Hospital in New York State and Connecticut to Provide Premature Infants with a Human-Derived, Human Milk-Based Fortifier as a Standard of Care|
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- Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital is now feeding an exclusive human milk diet to eligible premature infants in its Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
- A 100% human-milk diet using human derived, human milk fortifier has been clinically proven to reduce the risk of the severe intestinal disorder necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) by 77%.
- An exclusive human milk diet is expected to increase survival rates while reducing need for advanced care services associated with NEC.
Valhalla, New York, October 28, 2013 – Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center, the children’s hospital for New York’s Hudson Valley region and Fairfield County, Connecticut, has become the first hospital in either state to provide eligible premature infants with a human milk-fortifier made with human breast milk. This is a significant step in the care of critically ill newborns as the addition of this fortifier, Prolact+ H2MFTM (Prolact+) has been clinically proven to reduce the risk of the devastating intestinal condition necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) by 77% and thus increase the survival chances of very low birth-weight infants.
The Benefits of Breast Milk
There is much clinical evidence supporting human breast milk as the optimal nutrition source for babies. Premature infants, however - particularly those weighing less than 2.2 pounds – require an elevated level of nutrients that pure human breast milk cannot provide. In Neonatal Intensive Care Unit settings, human breast milk is often enhanced with a nutrient-rich fortifier derived from cow’s milk before it is fed to babies.
Recent clinical data, however, has pointed to the benefits of exclusive human milk nutrition over cow milk-based nutrition for very low birth weight infants. In 2010, the Journal of Pediatrics* published the results of a study that showed when Prolact+ was added to human milk the odds of extremely premature neonates developing
NEC was reduced by 77% when compared to infants receiving human milk fortified with a cow milk-based fortifier, or compared to preterm infant formula when the supply or mother’s own milk was insufficient. A follow-up study** published this year showed similar results.
“We are excited to introduce this product into our neonatal nutrition regimen and subsequently provide the premature infants under our care with the best chances of survival,” remarked Edmund La Gamma, M.D., Chief of Newborn Medicine and Director of the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center. “The intestinal condition NEC can be catastrophic to a neonate so any steps taken to reduce the chances of acquisition – and the complex care that goes along with it – is a positive step.
“This move is an investment by Westchester Medical Center in the health and well-being of our most fragile patients and provides further evidence of Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital’s position at the forefront of advanced pediatric medicine.”
The Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU) at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center carries a Level IV designation from the New York State Department of Health – the only neonatal unit in New York’s Hudson Valley and Fairfield County, Connecticut, with such a designation. This means the RNICU at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital has the clinical capability to care for the region’s tiniest and sickest newborns, which are transferred to the unit from community hospitals across the region. The RNICU has one of the highest acuity rates in all of New York State yet despite the complexity of its cases, still has positive outcome rates better than national averages. This care expertise led U.S. News and World Report to list the neonatology services at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital alongside the nation’s leading pediatric institutions in its 2013-2014 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings.
About Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center
Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center is the children’s hospital for New York’s Hudson Valley region and Fairfield County, Connecticut. As home to the region’s only pediatric intensive care unit, pediatric transplant program, burn center and cardiac catheterization program, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital cares for the area’s most seriously ill and injured kids.
A regional and national leader in children’s healthcare, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center was designed from the point of view of patients and families as well as doctors and nurses. In addition the hospital operates under the family-centered care philosophy, which encourages moms, dads, brothers and sisters to be involved in the care process. These factors result in a special healing environment that puts children and their parents at ease so the whole family feels better.
*For more information on this study, please visit http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(09)01085-3/abstract
**For more information on this study, please visit http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(13)00865-2/abstract
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