Since 2018, our neonatal team (doctors, nurses, allied health specialists and MR physicists) have been involved in a pioneering project with the fetal medicine team to operate on babies with spina bifida whilst still in the womb.

UCLH is the first and only UK centre which offers this fetal surgery and Early Lives has just purchased a blood warming device to support the work of the team.

The kit, which cost £1,000, allows safe fast blood transfusions if needed by the baby during surgery. It also allows rapid large volume transfusions (exchange transfusions), which prevent brain damage in severely jaundiced babies.

Dr.Latha Srinivasan, the neonatal consultant involved in the fetal spinal bifida surgery explains, “This blood warmer allows small amounts of warm blood to be quickly transfused to baby in an emergency. Our previous equipment needed larger amounts of blood and time to warm up. Giving warm blood is essential for stability of these babies when they are undergoing surgery in the womb.”

You can read more about the ground breaking surgery on the UCLH website.