UPMC Physician Resources

Our Program: Neonatology

The UPMC Newborn Medicine Program provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for critically ill newborns, including infants of all gestational ages with life-threatening medical emergencies and congenital malformations. Each of our four Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) features a full complement of specially trained physicians, neonatal nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, and support staff.

Neonatologists provide and supervise around-the-clock care at all NICUs. In addition to neonatologists, experts in pediatric medicine and pediatric surgery are available at any time. Our physicians are experts in managing state-of-the-art therapies for critically ill infants, including the use of inhaled Nitric Oxide (iNO), induced Whole Body Hypothermia, and Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO). Children’s Hospital is one of a select group of centers in the world to be honored with an “Excellence in Life Support Award” from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO), an international consortium of centers offering ECMO for support of failing organ systems in infants, children and adults.

Dedicated multidisciplinary teams in the Newborn Medicine Program include the cleft-craniofacial, transplantation evaluation, and spina bifida teams.

Active transport programs at Children’s Hospital and Magee-Womens Hospital have teams available 24 hours a day for the transport of critically ill infants. A neonatologist on call is always available to make arrangements for patient transfers and telephone consultations regarding stabilization prior to transfer. Neonates transferred to any one of our units are cared for by the same group of neonatologists.

Tantamount to the superior clinical care are two additional goals that the UPMC Newborn Medicine Program embraces. We take pride in contributing to one of the fastest growing pediatric research programs in the United States. Our basic science research physicians are expanding our understanding of many common neonatal disease processes, while exploring innovative therapies for treatment. Our clinical research physicians are participating in many multicenter studies that are vital to solving many of today's health challenges, are helping to improve the safety and efficacy of current treatments, and seek to investigate promising new therapies and interventions.

Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center

The Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center (FDTC) is located at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC and is conducted in partnership with Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Magee is the region's premier provider of obstetric and neonatal care, serving as the regional referral center for high-risk maternal care and fetal therapy. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has designated Magee as a National Center of Excellence in Women's Health.

Comprehensive expertise in women’s health and pregnancy is the foundation of the FDTC and its continuum of care; from evaluation to treatment of fetal abnormalities. In the event of a problem during pregnancy, the interdisciplinary team of pediatric and obstetrical specialists at the FDTC provides a coordinated effort to establish an individualized treatment plan for mother and baby. This comprehensive team approach allows for evaluation, precise diagnosis, and management of complicated conditions, maintaining consistency in care that extends from the time of diagnosis to delivery and into the newborn period.

Our physicians use an array of diagnostic, therapeutic, and surgical services to diagnose, monitor, and treat conditions during pregnancy. High-resolution ultrasound allows staff to detect fetal anomalies earlier in pregnancy and with much greater accuracy. Newly developed minimally invasive techniques have helped to reduce the risk of surgical intervention with the use of small needles and cameras to enter the womb and, sometimes, the fetus, to try to correct a developing problem.

The FDTC cares for a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Twin-twin transfusion syndrome
  • Spina bifida
  • Gastroschisis
  • Omphalocele
  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
  • Congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation
  • Posterior urethal valves
  • Fetal heart defects

When a problem is found, the multidisciplinary team at the Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center is ready to establish a treatment plan.

Learn more about the Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC. 

Research

The Division of Newborn Medicine maintains several active research programs, from National Institutes of Health-funded basic research to collaborative, multi-center clinical trials. Current areas of investigation include:

  • Mechanisms of bilirubin-induced neurotoxicity
  • Identifying premature infants at risk for necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Studying the molecular basis of cell death
  • Protective strategies for necrotizing enterocolitis

Using a genome-based approach, the lab has pioneered studies of a family of proteins called serpins, which protect cells from injury. An investigation is underway to examine how serpins work in normal development, as well as the role they play in certain cancers and infections.

Other areas of interest include:

  • Very-low-birthweight (VLBW) infants and their susceptibility to staphylococcal infections
  • Drug therapies to prevent chronic lung disease in pre-term neonates
  • Perinatal brain injury
  • Congenital anomalies of kidney and urinary tract development