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Florida’s First Neonatal Hemodynamics Program Launches for Vulnerable Newborns

March 12, 2024

Maintaining neonatal circulatory equilibrium presents a challenge for very premature infants born at or near the limits of viability. To address the needs of these most vulnerable newborns, Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies recently launched Florida’s first neonatal hemodynamics program, one of only two such programs in the Southeast.

J. Lauren Ruoss, MD
J. Lauren Ruoss, MD

“Historically, neonatology has relied very heavily on pediatric cardiology for echo imaging and image interpretation,” says J. Lauren Ruoss, MD, a clinical neonatologist and associate medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer. “With our hemodynamics program, neonatology takes a larger role in the management of these tiniest babies.”

While routinely done in other countries, neonatal hemodynamics for high-risk neonates is an emerging field within the United States. Neonatologists with hemodynamic expertise are trained to recognize deviations from normal anatomy and use neonatal cardiovascular ultrasound to gather precise, real-time information on developmental arterial pressure, blood flow and cardiac output in preterm or sick tiny babies. A dedicated neonatal hemodynamics program can efficiently assess cardiovascular compromise in less than 15 minutes.

At Orlando Health Winnie Palmer, the new neonatal program features a dedicated echo machine and neonatal hemodynamic specialist with advanced structured echocardiography training. “Centers utilizing a targeted neonatal hemodynamics program show an associated decrease in intraventricular hemorrhage, morbidity and mortality in tiny babies, often limiting the need to go on to ECMO,” says Dr. Ruoss, director of the Neonatal Point-of-Care Ultrasound Program. “Orlando Health has the resources, collaborative approach and robust tiny baby service necessary to build on this emerging field in neonatology.”

A noted lecturer, Dr. Ruoss is also the communication liaison for the Neonatal Hemodynamics TnECHO Special Interest Group for the American Society of Echocardiography. Her research focuses on the use of emerging, non-invasive technologies for the rapid assessment and management of neonatal hemodynamic disturbances.

Orlando Health Winnie Palmer is a member of the Neonatal Hemodynamics Research Centre (NHRC), a global community dedicated to fostering high-quality, collaborative research and educational initiatives to advance cardiac care for newborns.

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