A baby boy, thought to be the smallest ever to stay alive, has finally been sent home from hospital. The baby boy from Japan weighed just 268 grams (9.45 ounces) when he was born 16 weeks ago, last August. The baby was born by emergency C-section in August, and was so little he could fit into a pair of cupped hands. The infant was raised in intensive care until he was released last week, two months after his due date. Doctors chose to take action when he stopped gaining weight inside the womb, fearing his life was in danger.
The boy was in ICU until his weight reached 3.2 Kg and he was discharged on Feb. 20, said Dr. Takeshi Arimitsu of the university’s school of medicine, department of pediatrics. “I am grateful that he has grown this big because, honestly, I wasn’t sure he could survive,” the boy’s mother told Reuters. The former record was held by a boy born in Germany in 2009, weighing 274 grams, according to the Tiniest Babies registry controlled by the University of Iowa.
Keio University Hospital said the existence rate of babies born weighing less than a kilogram is about 90% in Japan. But for those born under 300 grams, that falls to around 50%. Among the very smallest babies, the survival rate is much lower for boys as compared to girls. Medical experts are uncertain why, though some believe it could be linked to the slower growth of male babies’ lungs. Dr Takeshi Arimitsu told that he wanted to show that “there is a possibility that babies will be able to discharge from the hospital in good health, even though they are born small”. Babies who weigh less than 1.5 Kg grams at birth face a series of health problems including higher risk of infection, trouble breathing because their lungs are so undeveloped, neurological problems such as bleeding on the brain and gastrointestinal problems.
While the little boy may seem to have made it through against the odds, around 50 to 60 per cent of babies born at 24 weeks survive, said Helen Mactier, consultant neonatologist in Glasgow. “Survival is verbalized by a number of factors but possibly the most important is gestational age. But survival is also dictated by the health of the mother and the complications of pregnancy,” she said.
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