The Neonatology section of the Department of Pediatrics advances clinical care for newborns while teaching physicians and conducting research in areas that will expand the health care of Arkansas’ smallest patients.
Physicians in the section manage approximately 4,000 babies delivered yearly at the UAMS Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), a third of whom are admitted to the Special Care, Intensive Care, or Critical Care Nursery. The neonatologists also care for a referral population of about 800 neonates at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) NICU, Arkansas’ only comprehensive, Level 4 neonatal intensive care unit. The average daily census of intensive care patients between the two hospitals exceeds 120 patients. Over 60% of the state’s very low birth weight babies (less than 1500 grams) are admitted to the combined nurseries. Nine daytime attending physicians (26 neonatologists, 10 neonatal hospitalists, and 17 neonatal nurse practitioners, and 6 neonatal fellows) assisted by pediatric residents, nurses, therapists, and ancillary staff, manage these patients daily. An in-house neonatologist at ACH and UAMS with neonatal nurse practitioners, neonatal fellows, and pediatric residents provides after-hours coverage.
Specialized clinical services include High-Frequency Ventilation, Nitric Oxide Therapy, and Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), at ACH, as well as the availability of all pediatric medical and surgical sub-specialties. Collaborative services with Pediatric Neurology include a Neonatal Neurology service that specializes in comprehensive care for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, brain malformations, and brain injury. The Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia Collaborative is a multidisciplinary service in conjunction with Pediatric Pulmonology to provide specialized services to complex patients requiring long-term respiratory support. In collaboration with ACH, the section established the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Nursery Alliance to focus on the quality of care in Level 1 and 2 delivery hospitals and aim for a reduction in infant mortality.
In addition to participating in the training program for pediatric residents, the section offers an accredited 3-year Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine fellowship.
Physicians in the Neonatology section are actively engaged in several areas of research and multicentered trials, including research in respiratory support and respiratory interfaces, large database evaluation, neonatal medication efficacy, telemedicine, and effects of nutrition support on micro RNA expression. The section is a member of a number of national research and quality collaboratives including the Children’s Hospitals Neonatal Consortium and Database and the Vermont Oxford Network with ongoing national quality improvement collaboratives related to debriefing after critical events, gastroschisis, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, ECMO, discharge process, and postoperative pain management.